For some reason, I had gotten it into my head that the band opening last Saturday evening at Velvet Jones was going to be The Sea and Cake, so you can imagine I was initially a bit confused when an unfamiliar figure, singer Rey Villalobos, sauntered up to the mic to warm up before his band’s show-opening set.
The band’s drum-driven show did not prove to be a disappointment, however. The Coral Sea definitely warmed up the crowd, as Villalobos’ gentle crooning sided well with the assembled crowd. The Santa Barbara locals put on a show worthy of recognition, as they matched indifferent rock anthems with rather emasculated confessions. As of press time, the band has no scheduled shows coming up, but look for the band around town.
As it neared midnight, the headlining band prepped an already crowded stage. Portland trio Menomena amazingly generated a sound comparable to that of a normal 10-piece band. Each member used a different variation of limbs to provide this sonic texture, excluding the two-armed beast, Danny Seim, manning (or manhandling) the drums.
The group’s shared singing duties were nothing compared to the octopus-esque juggling feat that Brent Knopf performed with two guitars, a keyboard and a glockenspiel or, for that matter, the rhythmic control that Justin Harris provided to his quartet of baritone sax, bass, guitar and floor organ (I think).
Menomena, in its first-ever appearance in Santa Barbara, brought along the defining cries of virtuous souls through an army of different mediums, creating a show dripping with passion and wreaking of power.
From the first wail of “The Pelican” to the cacophonous show-ending “Evil Bee,” the path Menomena set us on was visceral and infinite, escaping the usual confines of a set list.