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Phenomenon Concerts & The Rialto Theatre Present

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The Coathangers, Plague Vendor

May 31 Tue

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Rialto Theatre

$25

This event is all ages

General Admission Standing Room w/ limited festival seating in rear. 

Refused
Refused
We had a band once, in Umeå. We would pile in a van, like every other punkband, and thunder off in pursuit of friends and glory in some basement in front of 20 people, 50 people, in towns 4-5 hours away. Sometimes there would be more than a hundred people and we would later in the week refer to that as a "big show". We were ambitious, but we didn't think of it as a career. We never made any fiscal sense whatsoever during 7 years of touring. Like most punkbands, it never occured to us to even try. We had a scene, we had some politics and we had just a hint of artistic ambition. True to our swedish roots we got very serious very fast. And then suddenly we got good. It's a delicate path to tread for precocious twentysomethings anywhere on the planet, but this particular bunch didn't make it. And that was fine. Most enterprises in life are unrelated to incredibly violent rock music.

It's been a motley 14 years since our band came apart. We've all kept busy in our respective endeavors but we've all remained friends and kept in touch. There have been offers, and lots of jokes about these offers. We've sort of looked down from our high horses and made fun of people who've just wanted to share the psychopathic intensity that we would deliver on a nightly basis in our post-pubescent prime. A reunion has just seemed irrelevant to us. Too much other shit to do.

But then Kristofer got his degree from the Swedish opera academy, Jons medical studies began drawing to a close and Dennis and David started a new hardcore band together. Finally, after a decade and a half hiatus, Kristofer picked up the guitar again. Which made David want to play the drums again. Which in turn led to all four of us suddenly making new music in assorted constellations. As all this was brewing, Coachella got in touch. There were a couple of phone-calls, lots of skepticism, some hesitant enthusiasm before one of us basically said: "– This is ridiculous. There are friends of ours who would murder close relatives just to go see bands there. Let's just do it, one last time." And with that, socialist fag-loving pc scumbags were on the road again.

We never did "The shape of punk to come" justice back when it came out, too tangled up in petty internal bickering to really focus on the job. And suddenly there's this possibility to do it like it was intended. We wanna do it over, do it right. For the people who've kept the music alive through the years, but also for our own sakes.

We feel that you deserve it and we hope the feeling is mutual.

See you in the pit.

//Refused
The Coathangers
The Coathangers
Be leery of any punk band with initial ambitions that go beyond just playing shows with their friends. Sure, great bands ascend beyond basements and handmade demos all the time, but the best acts start with little consideration for the outside world. The groups are their own insular worlds, where the reward comes from the process, not accolades and riches. And the bands that thrive on their own artistic satisfaction usually wind up being the bands that are able to grow beyond the donation jar into sustainable successful musical careers. Their charisma is contagious, their songs exist outside of fads, and their spirits can weather the inevitable ups and downs of life as touring musicians. Such is the case with the Atlanta trio The Coathangers.
When The Coathangers started up in 2006, their aspirations were humble. "I think all bands in their early twenties start for fun," says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel when talking about their early years of cheeky no-wave and irreverent garage rock. But Julia and her bandmates Meredith Franco (bass/vocals) and Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals) were serious about their craft, and that combination of modest outside expectations and absolute dedication to their music made for exhilarating live shows and contagious records. Ten years later, The Coathangers are still going strong, and while their palette has expanded over the years to touch upon hip-shakin' classic rock, soulful country ballads, and golden oldies pop, their primary attack strategy still relies heavily on the jagged hooks and boisterous choruses of their formative years. Their fifth album Nosebleed Weekend retains all the devil-may-care magnetism and serrated instrumentation of their debut, but it flourishes with a decade's worth of songwriting discipline and chemistry.
Nosebleed Weekend kicks off with "Perfume", a song that marries sultry pop vocals with toothy guitar riffs in a manner that would make Ann and Nancy Wilson proud. It's hard to imagine The Coathangers writing a song this accessible in their early years, but in 2016 it fits perfectly into their canon. From there the band launches into "Dumb Baby", which harkens back to the gritty neo-garage rock of Murder City Devils. Longtime fans who still clamor for their brash post-punk angle will be immediately satiated by "Squeeki Tiki". And after hearing the noisy loud-quiet-loud bombast of "Excuse Me?" it's no wonder that Kim Gordon has become an outspoken fan of the band. It's an eclectic album inspired by life on the road, lost loved ones, and Kugel's recent move to Southern California. "We always say that each record is a snapshot of our life at the time," Kugel says. "As far as style… it's just what came out of us at that point." So whether it's the foreboding garage rock of the title track, the post-punk groove of "Burn Me", the stripped-down pop of "I Don't Think So", or the dynamic grunge of "Down Down", The Coathangers command their songs with passion and authority.
The biggest departure for Nosebleed Weekend was the recording process. While all their previous albums were recorded in Atlanta at The Living Room with Ed Rawls, their latest album found the band out in California's North Hollywood at Valentine Recording Studios with Nic Jodoin. "The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby both recorded there!" Kugel says excitedly. "It was an amazing experience, not to mention a ghostly one too. The studio had been custom built by Jimmy Valentine and he was very protective of his passion. It sounds weird, but his spirit was there, checking in on us and fucking with us a bit." Nosebleed Weekend was the first session at Valentine Recording Studios since Jimmy's professional interests were diverted elsewhere in 1979. The studio doors were shut, capturing a time capsule of the LA music industry back in the '70s. Thinking back to the early years of The Coathangers, it's hard to imagine the scrappy Southern ladies ever recording in a historic studio in the San Fernando Valley, but it's a classic demonstration of what can happen when humble young punks stick to their guns.
Plague Vendor
Plague Vendor
Time as a band breeds experience, yielding commitment to a cause and cementing a career path. This is something Plague Vendor has learned. The foursome, who emerged from a practice space in Whittier, CA in 2009, started by playing endless live shows around Southern California, filling everywhere from backyard parties to clubs to festivals with their raucous, formidable music. At the heart of every show, no matter the venue, was sincere energy and spirit, always resulting in a snarling, frenetic performance. The shows stacked up, accumulating every year, and eventually birthed Plague Vendor’s 2014 debut album Free To Eat, a dark, thrashing collection that clocked in at less than twenty minutes.

But the album, brash and aptly terse, was just an appetizer to the main course. The band’s sophomore effort, Bloodsweat, vastly expands on the sonic territory explored in their debut. Recorded over the course of two weeks in April of 2015 with producer and engineer Stuart Sikes (The Walkmen, Cat Power, Modest Mouse), the album takes a natural approach to Plague Vendor’s music. The musicians aimed to capture each track in as few takes as possible, avoiding many overdubs and embracing the same minimal production they bring to their live performances. Nearly all of the eleven songs on Bloodsweat were heavily road-tested, imagined and re-imagined live before ever making it into the studio.

From opening number “Anchor To Ankles” to closer “Got It Bad,” Bloodsweat reveals a purposeful narrative arc, taking the listener through songs that veer rapidly from aggressive thrash to melodic introspection. Together, the songs recount the last few years of the musicians’ lives, revealing the sacrifices they’ve made and the dedication they’ve embraced to become the band they’ve become. “Jezebel,” the disc’s flagship single, exemplifies the style Plague Vendor has dubbed “voodoo punk” a dance-fueled rock aesthetic tinged with shadowy darkness. The band’s influences, which range from At the Drive-In to Liars to The Cramps, are apparent but not overly obvious throughout.

Plague Vendor’s live show has shifted as they’ve developed these new songs, too. They’ve swapped out shock value for raw vulnerability onstage and the four musicians aim to create the most sound and the most intensity with the least possible utility and equipment. Palpable tension comes from the sense that anything could happen, but mostly Plague Vendor is interested in simplicity and the sort of expressive nakedness that can come from stripping everything away. It’s clear the band has sacrificed their formative don’t-give-a-fuck punk attitude for sincerity and gratitude, acknowledging the fans who’ve helped them arrive here now.

Bloodsweat invokes its own name as it unfurls, its songs edged with a sense of danger and vulnerability. It’s the product of a band who have traveled far and whose travels have committed them even further to themselves. As you hear it, as its songs surge outward, it announces: This is who Plague Vendor is now.

Plague Vendor is:

Brandon Blaine – Vocals
Luke Perine – Drums
Michael Perez – Bass
Jay Rogers – Guitar