Kevin Devine

Kevin Devine

Chris Farren, Bad & The Ugly

Thursday, June 8, 2017

7:30 pm

Soda Bar

$13.00 - $15.00

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Kevin Devine
Kevin Devine
KEVIN DEVINE is used to living life in the gray. For the past 14 years, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter has oscillated between As and Bs: intimate acoustic moments and bombastic rock songs; deeply introspective lyrics and sociopolitical charges; the storm cloud and its silver lining.

Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.) and released via Brand New’s Procrastinate! Music Traitors label, INSTIGATOR is Devine’s ninth full-length album and comes on the heels of a busy few years: In addition to recording two albums with Bad Books (the indie-rock supergroup he formed with members of Manchester Orchestra), he released the Kickstarter-funded double-album collection BUBBLEGUM and BULLDOZER in 2013 along with the wildly ambitious 2015 DEVINYL SPLITS 7” series with the likes of Brand New's Jesse Lacey, Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves and Nada Surf's Matthew Caws.

Devine is a master storyteller, and he imbues Instigator - from the biting power-pop of "Both Ways" and “No Why” to the angular, Nirvana-esque "Guard Your Gates" & gorgeously finger-picked “No One Says You Have To” - with intricate details and often-uncomfortable truths. Their meanings are personal, but their themes are universal. It’s a skill that makes both his albums and his live show so alluring: Even when Devine’s writing about the world at large, he’s pointing a mirror back at himself.

That sensibility is present on “Freddie Gray Blues,” a harrowing portrait of the events surrounding the 2015 death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers. Over haunting acoustic-based talking blues, Devine pays tribute to Gray before digging deep into his own past to reconcile both his privilege and social status as the son, grandson and nephew of NYPD officers. “I don’t think there’s a way for a person in my position to sing that song credibly without talking about why I’m in the room," he says.

And it’s there on “No History,” a string of personal vignettes centered on the September 11, 2001 attacks. It’s a song made much more meaningful by both the din of the 2016 presidential election and current global climate—a cautionary tale that one moment in time has wildly lasting repercussions.

When Devine’s past lives meet his present-day self on the career-defining “I Was Alive Back Then,” the beautiful duality of his art takes center stage: Life is never all peril or perfection, a country ripped apart by war and social injustice or the joy of holding your child for the first time. The extremes might be easier to define, but it’s in the middle where life really happens.

“That’s how I write records,” he continues. “You want to write about real shit. It’s really trying to communicate what I think it’s like to be me—even though I don’t know that all the time—and in the process help people touch a little closer what it’s like to be them, too.” XX
Chris Farren
Chris Farren
Can’t Die is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cites Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording, has crafted a record that has a true indie-pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.

Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and mortality, like on “Until I Can See The Light,” which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels amongst other friends that have passed recently. It’s about “how weird it is that they’re gone,” explains Farren. “You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”

Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s played in popular bands Fake Problems and Antarctigo Vespucci — and he’s become well-known for his inventive merch, including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the large world of singer-songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few memorable EPs and a Christmas album called Like A Gift From God or Whatever, Farren is ready to become known for his own unique approach, on his own terms.

At the end of the day, Can’t Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farren’s new sound. It’s not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead it’s a sound that is entirely his: resonating indie-pop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and realizing that you can’t control everything around you. Can’t Die adds some lightness to that, resulting in a record that makes listeners happy while also recognizing that it’s OK to be sad sometimes, too.
Bad & The Ugly
Bad & The Ugly
Singer, songwriter Nate Hess has created a new project surrounding himself with other like minded musicians playing under the name Bad & The Ugly. Nate has created a sound for fans of City and Colour and Thrice but with a unique twist of dark acoustic overtones in the music. With haunting harmonies and honest lyrics, Bad & The Ugly have been picking up momentum with two self released EP's "Skin and Bones” and “Slept In The Pages”. Nate is no stranger to the musician lifestyle as he toured the US numerous times including the popular Vans Warped Tour as drummer/singer for the hardcore band A Shattered Hope. Bad & The Ugly has taken the DIY approach embracing the ever changing music industry by self releasing their music, booking their own shows and building fans throughout the world.
Venue Information:
Soda Bar
3615 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA, 92104
http://www.sodabarmusic.com/