The Donkeys @ The Sunset

The Crocodile Presents:

The Donkeys @ The Sunset

The Mondegreens, Perfect Families

Thu, June 8, 2017

8:30 pm

Sunset Tavern

Seattle, WA

$14 Adv.

This event is 21 and over

The Donkeys
The Donkeys
As we watched the Donkeys perform one of the first of their nearly 150 shows in support of 2014’s Ride The Black Wave, on the clattery rooftop stage of the aptly named SXSW venue Cheers Shot Bar, Craig Finn (he of literate-rock luminaries The Hold Steady) turned to me and said something on the order of “you can just feel that they’ve played with each other since high school…they’ve got that thing, and you just can’t get it otherwise.” That thing, an elusive, intuitive musical hive-mindedness informs every note the acclaimed San Diego quartet ever play, live or on record, but is especially present on Midnight Palms, the mini-album due for release February 12th on Easy Sound.

Tracked largely live-in-the-studio with veteran producer, longtime friend, and fellow traveler Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Fruit Bats, Devendra Banhart), Midnight Palmsoozes with the sticky, syrupy energy of a band fresh off the road and “in rare form,” as the expression goes. Recorded as it was at the end of one of the bands blitzkrieg road runs (which might see the band playing as many as 28 shows in 29 days), the collection’s lived-in live feel should surprise few.

The core founding trio of Tim Denardo, Anthony Lukens, and Sam Sprague drive the proceedings. Drummer Sprague alternately (and effortlessly) sets a lock-step driving pace, as on album opener “Hurt Somebody,” a bouncy girl-group groove (“Day by Day”), or a lazy gallop, as on the languid “Star Bird,” which the drummer also sings. Meanwhile, bassist Denardo falls easily into any of those pockets, and takes his own lead vocal turn on “Down the Line,” a dusty roots-pop tune as laid back as the men playing it. Lukens, of course, provides the by-turns warm, slippery, punchy and liquid keyboard lines that are the album’s bedrock, while lending his direct, earnest vocals to three of the album’s five tunes.

The fourth Donkey on Midnight Palms is The Hold Steady’s Steve Selvidge, stepping in after the (amiable) departure of long-time guitarist Jesse Gulati. Selvidge hopped on stage with the Donkeys that night at Cheers Shot Bar and would end up joining the band for a fair number of those 150 RTBW shows. His pointed, tasteful leads are peppered throughout Midnight Palms, most notably on the searing “Hold On To You.”

In all, the Donkeys have crafted in the Midnight Palms mini-album a fine, half-sized document of their singular sound. At once accessible, adventurous, nostalgic, and progressive, it can only be the Donkeys.
And to be fair, when it comes to the Donkeys, some of this mystique is true – two of the band's members are indeed surfers, and all four have been known to down a six pack or two. But like California, the real-life Donkeys (best friends from Southern California, Timothy DeNardo, Jessie Gulati, Anthony Lukens and Sam Sprague) are much more... real. If their backstory contains those top-down cars and suntanned utopian surf tableaus, it also contains the malaise and the escape fantasies familiar to all suburban kids of the 80s and 90s. Miraculously, the music manages to comfortably communicate both moods at once. Any expression of existential ennui – "is this all there is?" – is simultaneously soothed by an unrushed guitar lick and a harmonized twang that becomes almost, dare we say, meditative.

Part of this magic comes from the fact that there's no artifice to the Donkeys' songs, from the matter-of-fact breakup blues of "Boot on the Seat" to the playful recollections of a late, drunken night narrated on "Nice Train." These are everyday lives in the postmodern world expressed with a deep respect for classic songs from the 70s through the 90s -- for spacey grooves and soulful, jangly swagger -- that elevates the subject matter beyond the ordinary. Living on the Other Side, the band's second album, is not meant to hit you over the head with a flamboyant single – instead, imagine Ray Davies jamming with the Byrds, or a Gene Clark-fronted Buffalo Springfield -- and you'll get a sense of the tradition that informs this band.

Living on the Other Side is about rolling down the windows, cranking up the stereo, and hitting the open road. Maybe you're running away, and maybe you're not, but either way, everything's going to be alright.
The Mondegreens
The Mondegreens
he Mondegreens is a rock group based in Seattle, WA churning out a new take on “California Soul”: song-based rock & roll, infused with R&B, psychedelia, and folk. With an infectious, harmony-driven sound that combines the raw passion of The Avett Brothers with the diverse soundscapes of Grizzly Bear, their sought-after live shows can “run from dusty, shambling Americana to bright and modern in a single setAs California valley natives, Jack Knight (guitar/vocals), Russell Rabut (guitar/vocals), and David Friedlander (bass/vocals), began collaborating in 2007, coming together around roots music, vocal harmony, and songwriting. Scotty Jenkins (percussion) was recruited prior to their 2015 tour to Austin’s SXSW, completing their current lineup. As at ease at an intimate house concert as they are on a festival stage, The Mondegreens continue to capture the attention of audiences of all shapes, ages, and sizes.
Perfect Families
Perfect Families
Perfect Families are a Seattle Dream Pop/Indie Rock duo offering bittersweet, layered nuances and a driving, melodic pop sensibility.

Their full-length, self-titled album was recently released in August of 2015.

The band was created by two brothers Joel and Micah Smith in 2012. They also feature live musicians Raven Macdaniels, Tamir Rawlings and Joseph Oakes.
Venue Information:
Sunset Tavern
5433 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA, 98107
http://sunsettavern.com/