Tonight in Seattle:  

River Giant at The Tractor Tavern

7 Jul 2012 at The Tractor Tavern

{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
Music has always seemed to work in cycles: sounds and styles that were once being blasted through wood-paneled JBL L100's while teens gazed deeply into their black light posters fizzled out and died -- just to slowly creep their way back into music decades later. It's that nostalgic sound that so many bands have sought for years. Many bands struggle with finding that sound, a way to communicate their music and their art as a blend of that which influenced them as kids and something new that they would like to introduce to the world. Most all musicians have tales of crackling 45's and cassettes left playing in the background while their parents carried about their chores -- and these are some of their deepest influences. It seems to me that, all too often, these influences are not translated effectively and lose something along the way. But for Seattle-based trio River Giant, the usage and balance of their influences comes so naturally that it feels and sounds like a haunting (and effing bad ass) trip through some of the more notable sounds of the last 40 years, all while maintaining their own unique touch. Forming in 2009 and fresh off the release of their debut self-titled release, Kyle Jacobson (vocals/guitar), Trent Schreiner (bass/vocals) and Liam O'Connor (drums/vocals) have found their sound and have been steadily gigging the last few months, sharing it with Seattle.
This past Saturday, River Giant took the stage at the Tractor Tavern, opening up for Portland-based band The Builders and the Butchers. With no banter or introduction, River Giant hopped up in front of a crowd of roughly 150 slightly boozed-up people and ripped right into "Western", a heavy 1970's psychedelic trip that should find it's way onto every future setlist.  Wasting no time, the band then launched into "Out Here, Outside", a tune filled with good vibes and rich harmonies. The remainder of the set included (in this order): "Taylor Mountain", "Ra Ra", "Randy Is His" (unreleased), "Missing You", "Fast Heart" and "Feel Like". The final song of the near 40-minute set was "Pink Flamingos", the second track off of their new album and arguably their most sugary, catchy, hook-ridden jam yet. As one of the more tasteful rhythm sections around Seattle, Trent Schreiner and Liam O'Connor provide well crafted, soaring harmonies behind lead singer Kyle Jacobson's striking guitar work. Overall, the band was well-rehearsed and tight, everyone I spoke with after the show glowing in their remarks for the up-and-coming band. The only issue I had was that the 35ish minute set left me hungry and ready for more.
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
{River Giant / by Jon Kaplan}
If you haven't made the decision to go to one of their shows, I highly recommend it.  While River Giant is a relatively young band, they already have so much to offer in their live music experience. I have zero doubt that if they continue to find inspiration and put out high-caliber music, they will not only be just one more reason why Seattle is considered to be one of the greatest cities for live music, but also quite possibly be one of the best rock bands out of the Pacific Northwest.
Videos were recorded earlier this year live at KEXP for "Ra Ra", "IPTM", "Fast Heart", and "Missing You" and can be found here.
{All photos by Jon Kaplan.}
Jon, this is a great write-up! You make me want to go check out this band (which I'm going to do the minute I get out of my next meeting at work). Bravah!

Thank ya, Victoria!  Thank ya.  Those links to KEXP are pretty awesome... the CD is most definitely worth listening to as well!

I was at this show too!

I tried to get there early enough to catch River Giant and I think they went on a bit early so I missed the beginning but I did catch most of their set and it was pretty good. I'm glad I now know the song they closed with, because it was indeed sugary, catchy and hook laden.

Nice photos too.

Glad you got to catch that set, John!  Pretty killer stuff.

Awesome write up and great pics! I wish I was there.
This second I stumbled across their bandcamp page a week before their record release my jaw dropped... This band blew my mind and the world needs to hear them. Great things will happen to this band! Great job boys! Lemme play some steel on a track sometime... Hopefully Jay will be too busy... :)

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