Brass Bed, Forgetter, Sean Barna
2477 18th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is all ages
Sweating their way through tour fever, exhaustion, and the last round of shows supporting 2013's The Secret Will Keep You, Brass Bed entered The Loading Dock studios in Sacramento's fruit-packing district with Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall) to blast out a three song set on a chance collaboration. Woodhouse's breakneck tracking speed and explosive guitar treatments collided with a Brass Bed line-up well honed in dynamic, incandescent performances from nearly a year on the road. The result was an unlikely marriage of aesthetics boiled quickly in a summer heat that resulted in a raw, unsettled, lunging, leaning, and skuzzy version of a band heretofore known for its song craft and precision, all captured live to 16 tracks of two-inch tape.
While the three-song session would serve as the cornerstone of the band's upcoming 4th LP (much of which was also recorded with Chris at the Dock) the material as it sat right on the tape, mixed in a fury of caffeine and beer, was just too good to languish on a reel. Recorded with the shortest distance from sweaty performance to wax, and presented in its purest form, the band shares "Be Anything" b/w "Mind the Gap" and a glimpse of what's to come.
Brass Bed is the lifelong collaboration of Jonny Campos, Christiaan Mader, and Peter DeHart, begun during a bedroom recording session in Lafayette, LA in the Elephant 6-obsessed summer break from college. It has blossomed from studio to stage through changes in lineup, geographic distance, three studio albums, four EPS, a handful of singles, a pair of robberies, and the various life distractions known as growing up. Brass Bed is not a project. Brass Bed is a band.
Seán Barna is a singer, songwriter, and drummer living in Washington, D.C. His debut EP, Cutter Street, is an urgent and powerful collection of songs recorded at The Fortress in Downtown Los Angeles in late-2013 and early-2014, while Seán was jobless and living on his friend's couch. He is currently in pre-production for his followup EP, Assassins, due out in early 2015.
(Excerpted from "Our Barroom Bard," a short essay by John Marotta) It's late-July in Washington, D.C., and Seán Barna appears from the shadow of the staging area into a room that smells of cheap canned beer and sweat. Though he's been disappearing for years on stages like these, as well as in Broadway touring pits, it's been almost exclusively as a drummer. Today he stands alone, acoustic guitar hanging high from his neck, visiting from Los Angeles to celebrate his birthday with a performance in front of an audience made mostly of friends, former lovers, and some family. He opens his set by reciting a spoken word poem over a drone-like finger picking guitar pattern, recounting a love lost to the streets of L.A.:
"If I could stop just one heart from breaking, maybe I could save my own and feel better about the bottles in the shower, and the whiskey on the mattress, and such breathless encounters of love."
From this unexpected, haunting intro, he moves to several songs that further explore the fluids and failures of this recently deceased relationship, occasionally pausing mid-song to demand that the audience come closer to him. The urgency in his voice reveals a man desperately vulnerable. Yet, with unadulterated honesty, he displays a keen self-awareness. The last ten minutes of the show are palpably transcendent, leaving the audience transfixed.
By combining lyrics that employ such pure and brave introspection with a silk-tinged but jagged voice, Barna takes the singer-songwriter tradition of diary-drawn lyrics to a new and unique place, and his songs transmute entrenched heartache into hymns of healing for the disconsolate.