Please welcome a brand new writer for Blacklight Findings – Tara Singh. Tara is an emerging writer in San Jose and has been to many local music shows. She knows many of the bands that have started to make a name for herself – please enjoy her very first published show review for Cartoon Bar Fight’s album release party at SLG Art Boutiki & Gallery this past Friday.
Friday night, SLG Art Boutiki in downtown San Jose put on a very packed show with five fantastic bands on the bill. It was Cartoon Bar Fight’s physical release of their new full-length album Reincarnate.
The opening act, Cold Eskimo, was incredible. I feel sorry for every single person in that room who had arrived later that evening and missed them, because they are undeniably one of the best local bands I’ve heard in a long time. Every element in Cold Eskimo’s musical composition works together so flawlessly and I was blown away by their dreamy, soulful vocals and beach-poppy guitar sound; a sort of ambient loveliness that contrasts with very high-energy stage presence. One song that stuck out during their set was a track entitled Where You Belong, and it embodies both of these elements perfectly.
The next band to play was Anadel. I had seen them once before, so it was a pleasant surprise when I saw they were on the bill. From what I had remembered, they were very good, but not exactly my cup of tea. However, I was very impressed by their performance last night, specifically the incorporation of violin and incredibly powerful vocals into their enchanting sound.
Dogcatcher played next and I was very happy to see a couple of familiar faces onstage- Nik Bartunek and Daniel Martinez of Picture Atlantic. I had heard great things about Dogcatcher, but I was not prepared for what their performance had in store and I can honestly say I’ve never heard anything like them. Their sound is jazzy, rhythmic, charming and lounge-esque, and their high-energy performance made me smile all the way through. Notably, their sound includes lots and lots of driving bass and prominent drums and this was showcased particularly in a track called Be Easy.
Next came the band I was there for: Rin Tin Tiger. Their liveliness is out of this world, making it somewhat difficult not to dance through the entire set. Rin Tin Tiger has a jangly, folksy, energetic sound that is centered around acoustic guitar, heavy drums and harmonica, with soft bass and interesting vocals that add real character to every song. Everything about their performance was exciting.
Last was the band everyone was there for, and the joint was uncomfortably filled, I had never seen so many people there. Cartoon Bar Fight took the stage and did not fail to please. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the entire set, but I was well impressed with what I saw. Their sound is pretty; it utilizes lots of different instruments, especially on this new album, with tracks alternating between dark and lovely ballads, much like those of their first release, and more up-tempo tracks. Throughout, the most impressive components of the performance had to be the haunting, siren-like vocals and use of bright, classical keys, and it was well expressed in my personal favorite off Reincarnate, a track called Fox and the Grapes.
Overall, the show was one of the best local performances I’ve been to. Each band was spot on, interesting, and engaging, and the music was beyond what I had expected.
video courtesy of Local Bay Area Music