Ryan Chartrand

Sunday night marked the second local show I’ve been to this year, and already the bar has been set very high. The F-ing Champs and Citay played along with Freedom at the Steynberg Gallery. Just like Indian Jewelry, the concert drew a good turnout, as well as delivering beyond expectations.

Freedom functions as a second project from noise-band Meal and features the same guitarist with the drummer swapped out for a second guitarist. Definitely noisier, although I found that I preferred Meal’s move away from the territory and increased focus on drums.

Citay followed and pretty much stole the show, not that the Champs weren’t also rather amazing. For the record, Citay acts primarily as the project of Bay Area musician Ezra Feinberg. However, in concert, the eight-piece band explores the territory Feinberg records on album.

Two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, two xylophone players, and a flutist back Feinberg with an assortment of keyboards and tambourines thrown in as well.

Seeing large bands work so well impresses me to no end. The closest feeling I can put it too is when I saw the New Pornographers in concert. Seriously, it was extreme melody from a large number of players on a large variety of instruments. Not to mention that the acoustics of the Steynberg Gallery aided the show so much.

A fourth wall cuts the room slightly sealing in even more sound for the front two rows and pushing strands of loud melody even farther into your ears.

Three-piece metal band the Champs followed. While the Champs didn’t exceed expectations as much as Citay, they still fully delivered. We definitely got some loud wonderous metal pounded into our ears inside of a small venue that left my hearing at a loss. Let’s face it, when it’s good, you can definitely do without the earplugs. Of course, with the Champs audience being primarily college rock kiddies and musical elitists, it didn’t feel like a metal show nor did the band look like a metal band. But, they did their best to remind us by engaging in metal shenanigans like touching instruments over their drummer in a way that seemed wholehearted.

As I said, it’s the second show of the year, and they have already been topping what I saw last year. So, my first show this year that I booked is within a month’s time and I’m honestly hoping that They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? can keep up the rhythm and momentum that has been set up in San Luis Obispo.

Show tip: Port O’Brien will be playing with the Finches at the Steynberg Gallery on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. If you missed my Port O’Brien review last quarter, let me pass this on to you: Port O’Brien is one of the most promising bands the area has to offer. I’m sure if anyone is going to make it, it’s them. The song “I Woke Up Today” exhilarates with folk, chant-along glory and it is seriously worth showing up for alone.

As an additional reminder, KCPR is still accepting applications for new DJs. An informational meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Graphic Arts building, room 201. Applications are due on Friday.

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