a thoughtful discussion about music


Live Trumps All

Although records are wonderful ways of listening to music (especially for a personal experience and contemplation/analysis) any sort of recording will most often be trumped by a genuine live performance.

Last night I had the pleasure to view a few local Atlanta bands play at the Drunken Unicorn. The show overall was not bad, with the Society of Ghosts opening the night and Street Violence as the final act. I was personally captivated the most by the band that performed in between the two, named Red Sea. They played a great set, coming primarily from their newest EP titled, Weird Problem..

The band consists of four members: Kyle Sherrill and Stephen Luscre, playing back and fourth harmonies on guitars; Mick Mayer, playing bass and singing vocals with Kyle; and Rick Mayer on the drums. Their sound is unlike most that I have heard coming out lately, keeping things simple while using harmony and layering to provoke interest and add complexity. Many bands that have been popping up recently are composed of as many people with as many instruments that can fit on stage (which by no means is a bad thing), which leads to a exciting and chaotic atmosphere. Staying away from this template, Red Sea seems to be much more focused, concentrating on the science and technique of music writing and working within the realm of few instruments to organize the sounds amplified and create a landscape that is not completely revealed in a single listening.

I saw Red Sea perform in the Fall at a small house show and remember being intrigued by their music then. In the last week they popped back into my head, like a memory that got temporarily buried. When I was informed that they were playing by a mutual friend, I decided to go watch them again. Before the show I listened to a few of their songs online, because I truthfully had forgotten what I had heard in the Fall.

While experiencing the live show I realized a few things about their music that did not jump out at me during that exclusively auditory preview. For example, the two guitarists have certain techniques for creating these captivating harmonies; they often play the same chords while using different strumming or picking patterns or strum the same pattern while playing different chords. Also, getting to see people sing harmonies live is more revealing than when they are recorded.

Overall, Red Sea seems to be a band that could go somewhere, taking influences from post-rock and pop-rock, with the sense of pulling grunge out of the swamp of ambiguity and giving it a little more of a backbone. I am excited to see what might come next.

*While this video is not of the best quality, I wanted to use a media that most closely would represent the live performance. But I highly recommend the procuring of these songs to be listened to with quality headphones.

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