Perhaps it was Monday’s lineup announcement, or perhaps it was the highly anticipated return of two beloved local bands, but the excitement at Beauty Bar’s packed Life Is Beautiful showcase Wednesday night was almost as palpable as the heat thick in the air.
First of the night’s comeback kids was quartet Twin Brother, last seen onstage January 27, 2012. The indie-psych troupe was off to what singer/guitarist Sonny Saipale admitted to be a “rusty start,” due as much to their own tuning and instrument difficulties as to the poorly mixed sound that proved to be an unfortunate Great Equalizer for all six bands on the lineup that night. But as the set progressed, it gradually settled into the echoing soundscapes and tempo shifts that drew crowds in their heyday two years ago. Considering the band had just a month to rehearse before the show, it’s expected that they still have some work to do; but in the meantime, it’s exciting to have a band back on the scene that’s not afraid to get a little experimental and weird.
Though Twin Brother reunited for the chance at playing the festival, Saipale says that after last night’s show, whether not not they make the Life Is Beautiful lineup is almost besides the point.
“If we don’t make this one, it’s no biggie. Obviously it would be a real honor, but whether we play it or not won’t affect the band at all,” he says, explaining that playing the show felt like “a chance to be part of something bigger,” and has given them the momentum to record a new album, which could happen within the next two months. “At the rate we’ve been writing, maybe we could release two this year. Who knows. Our main thing was getting people into the doors to know about Life Is Beautiful and letting them know that we’re back and creating again and there’s gonna be a lot more from us this year and in coming years.”
As for Kid Meets Cougar, which was announced as part of the lineup Monday, playing the showcase was more of a celebratory homecoming for the duo, which last performed June 30. The back patio was filled nearly wall to wall in the minutes before their set, and the crowd’s cheers and enthusiasm as the band took the stage went on to make for what singer/multi-instrumentalist Brett Bolton calls “hands down one of the most fun shows I’ve ever played. We couldn't have asked for anything more.”
Indeed, the show was as if they’d never left, with their videos and other technical-theatrical accoutrements running as smoothly as the harmonies they shared. While it was more or less a complete copy of the show they’d performed before their hiatus, Bolton says the ease with which they slipped back into the music has inspired them to create an entirely new show and setup for the festival performance. Not that he feels any pressure to impress:
“As soon as I saw Beck’s name in the announcement, I freaked out. He’s one of my favorite all-time artists. Then I saw our name on the lineup with Beck and it was like, ‘I can die happy now. It’s a dream come true,'” Bolton says. “Because of this festival in general, I feel a new energy now. I feel totally revamped on KMC. We broke up but now we’re good buddies and bandmates, and we have tons of energy now. I hope it does a lot of cool stuff for us.”