Ryan Chartrand

aDid I just go to a punk show? I’m still not very sure. I mean there were definitely people who would describe themselves as punk there. And I guess it makes some sense when someone explains it to you. But, still. A bunch of acoustic singer-songwritery stuff and I’m standing with people patched-out, leathered-up and pierced?

Not that it truly matters in any way. In fact, it’s pretty nice to see any sort of “scene” open up its boundaries to just let all the cool do-it-yourselfers in. Locals neato bandito and Carlos started the show off at the newly opened Steynberg Gallery on Monterey Street. As usual, it’s great to see younger-age kids getting stoked and playing for people.

Watercolor Paintings and Rian James, both from Santa Barbara, followed. As per the usual, us audience members found ourselves part of a growing infatuation with Watercolor Paintings, the solo project of Rebecca Redman. There’s plenty of reasons for it too. Harp. Check. Ukulele. Check. Absolutely adorable songs about bicycles and vegan dinners. Check. It was also her “CD release show,” which involved a stack of self-made CDs that each contained 80 songs. It’s just such an amazingly cute CD that the idea idea of not buying one becomes a near-impossibility for the majority of us with weak hearts.

Shakey Bones followed with the big let-down of the night. I hope that I am thinking correctly and this guy was just super drunk because his performance, which involved being all over the place and barely understandable, was a rather torturous 45 minutes.

At this point, the main bands hit the stage for what was one of the weirder scenes of the night. Captain Chaos plowed through a series of his songs which a majority of the high-school-aged kids there sung along to. In addition, though, he played two covers: one by the Mountain Goats and one by the Magnetic Fields. Both of these are major college radio artists and make music geeks like me squirm in my pants. But at the same time, we are at a “punk” show so nobody knows the words except for the light spattering of college students in the audience.

Paul Baribeau closed out the night. I’d gotten his album a few weeks before when the Ghost Mice passed through playing a show and fell madly in love with it. I can kind of understand why now too. Paul Baribeau was startlingly similar to most people I know. He dressed really simply with no forced style. He had a definite weird, slightly juvenile sense of humor. He was in love with K Records recording artist Mirah. And his songs are rather straightforward and emotional, but with a tinge of guilt about the whole thing. Like he thought we didn’t want to hear him whine and moan about an ex-girlfriend. But at the same time, he wanted to put it out there quickly and nakedly.

Shows like these seem to unite a lot of the different strands of the SLO scene as I’ve said before which is what a lot of the musically, obsessive love to see. Most times when I try and sell people on going to shows they have specific interests. Like they only want to see hip-hop shows, or want something loud with a crazy, wild tempo. So, seeing a bunch of randomly different people walking out loving the show is a super-big plus.

Graham Culbertson is a journalism junior and general manager for KCPR.