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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

September 8, 2009 at 7:37 AM

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Truckasauras at Bumbershoot: perfect

Posted by Andrew Matson

trucka01.jpg


Local act Truckasauras was incredible Monday at the EMP Sky Church, and easily the best thing I saw at Bumbershoot 2009.

Granted, I didn't see a lot. I mean, compared to the average person, I'm sure I did -- an average of six concerts each day isn't bad, right? -- but I missed too many performances for any "best of Bumbershoot" claims.

Also, I'm conscious of the fact that, while Truckasauras is making hands-down the most unique and beautiful music in Seattle (it's true!), a lot of people don't feel that way. And members Adam and Tyler Swan, Daniel Bordon, and Ryan Trudell each have decidedly anti-star stage presences: sometimes Adam nods like he's on heroin, or waves his hands like he's at a rap concert; sometimes Tyler almost does a Bill Cosby dance. But mostly, nothing. Especially if one's pop music/concert taste runs rockist -- that is, racist against everything not trad-rock -- Truckasauras is a nightmare.

During the group's hour-long set, music flowed from one pop song-sized chunk into another, and was built entirely from synthesizers and drum machines controlled on the fly. It was also largely unclassifiable, genre-wise, not unlike a person of mixed ethnicity: not half electronic music and half instrumental hiphop, but wholly both.

The room was tailor made for Truckasauras, who utilized the three-stories-high projector screen behind it to great effect. Video man Bordon's live-mixed dual-VHS edits enjoyed IMAX-like prominence, which was funny at times, especially when the images weren't mournfully picturing a day at the semi truck factory -- oddly affecting, that. When the screen showed Jean-Claude Van Damme roundhouse kicking in slo-mo, and also close-ups of Hulk Hogan in mid-wrestling ecstasy, face shuddering as frames clicked by at even slower-mo, audience LOLs were audible.

Most importantly, though, the best-sounding speakers anywhere at Bumbershoot were put to fantastic use. Truckasauras' music always tests speakers' limits, but at the Sky Church, not only were all the various synthesizer melodies clear and distinct, the low-end was body-massaging-ly powerful. It was the perfect situation to witness songs that will no doubt show up on the group's next album, which, in an interview conducted earlier in the day (video soon), the group told me was about one song away from being completed. Several times throughout the concert, I looked away from the musicians and screen and just stared into the speaker above me, which I fantasized was like wearing Geordi LaForge's visor.

GeordiLaForge.jpg

In the aforementioned interview, the group described its new music as more songwriter-ly than before, and structurally more complicated than 2008 release "Tea Parties, Guns & Valor." It was no more complicated to listen to, though. Listen to the soaring synth melody on this first clip. The most straightforward beat of the group's career, Truckasauras just lays it on as thickly as possible: it's a triumph, this melody, and the first indication that the group's second album will be absolutely better than its first.

Three new songs after the jump.

Photo by Genevieve Alvarez / Seattletimes.com

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