Concert Review: Acorn Project & brothers gow
By: Juan Barragan
Acorn Project, brothers gow
Ocean Beach, San Diego
20 September, 2013
By bringing world-class musical talent into an intimate space, Winston’s has undoubtedly become one of the most popular concert venues in Ocean Beach. Acorn Project and brothers gow would provide the entertainment for the evening. Acorn Project is a band from Bellingham, Washington that specializes in creating music without binding themselves to a particular genre. The other band, brothers gow, also specializes in creating this type of innovative music, but they do so with an Ocean Beach influence. Both bands typically have light effects during their sets, and the show for the evening would allow both bands to combine their light gear to create a light show of epic proportions, never before seen at Winston’s. Acorn Project started the night with their music in front of a packed house.
Acorn Project wasted no time in introducing the crowd to the songs from their newly released album, Shift, which was released last week. It was then that a song that will certainly be a classic hit for the band was played. The song was called “The Difference,” and it started off with an 80’s pop rhythm feel with a catchy guitar lick that permeated the verse throughout the song. At the end of the song, the saxophone player, Sam Lax, played an intense and captivating solo that caused the crowd to erupt in cheers after witnessing such talent. The band played a cover near the end of their set that was immediately recognizable to the people in the audience, who then started singing along. The song was Seal’s “Crazy,” and the band did a terrific job at adding their own musical influence to the song while still maintaining the main structure and feel of the original version. The song was the perfect selection for the end of their set, as the chorus of the song served as a precursor for the band that would take the stage next. “No we’re never gonna survive / unless we get a little, crazy,” sang Acorn Project, and it would not be too long before brothers gow would take the stage, who would without a doubt play music the audience would go crazy for, and not just a little.
“The City,” was the song of choice for brothers gow to start off their set, after a good jam session of approximately twenty minutes. The band’s set had a lot of songs from their newly released album, Chapters, which was released this past June. With the combined light rigs from both bands in place, the work of the band’s sixth member, Matt Collier, was fully featured throughout the entire set. It is no wonder why the band considers Collier as the sixth member of the band. The lighting effects complement the band’s music, creating a perfect balance of artful entertainment that can be enjoyed with both your eyes and ears, which is a rarity in small music venues, and certainly unusual for a small local band to have. The band played “Equanimity,” a song that will certainly be one of the hits off of their new album. This particular song has a very calm and soothing feel to it, then features a breakdown where the band members do a unique choreographed march on stage. The set tonight seemed different in one particular aspect that was easily audible compared other shows brothers gow has played. The cause of this different sound was attributed to the band’s lead guitarist, Kyle Merrill, who got to use some new guitar pedals. These new pedals and subtle change in sound and tone made the guitar solo during “Equanimity” amazing. The set also marked a first for brothers gow, who for the first time ever invited some of the members from Acorn Project to share the stage with them for a song. Just when the crowd thought that the band’s set could not get any better, Alex Gow Bastine started playing the little riff from the Warren G song, “Regulators.” The crowd went nuts as the band made the cover song theirs by customizing it to feature a rock-style breakdown with Merrill shredding on guitar.
The band then went on to play one of their most popular original songs, “Headlock.” This song featured a unique instrumental addition that further makes the band stand out in any musical setting. Kyle Merrill, in addition to fulfilling guitar duties and backing vocals for this song, busted out a trumpet and jammed out an awesome solo that made the crowd dance along. To top it off, just when the crowd thought the song was at its peak of awesomeness, Merrill put aside his trumpet in order to give the crowd a verse with a robot-like voice from his Vocoder effect pedal. The end of their set consisted of a truly epic, unreleased song, titled “Reflections,” which is rumored to be the title track on the band’s next album. Words cannot do justice for the musical masterpiece this song turned out to be. It was at this point where another subtle difference in sound was heard, again, due to the newly acquired pedals at Merrill’s reach. Merrill’s guitar solo after the slow bridge produced a slightly different tone and feel compared to the other times the band has played this song live. The tone during this part of the song was different due to the fact that there was very little echo and the palm muted guitar notes came out with a stronger and sharper attack than usual. This was definitely not a bad thing, as it reflected Merrill’s experimental musical nature when dealing with his numerous guitar pedals and endless combinations of sounds that can be created from his pedal board. After this song, the sound guy on the mixer asked the band to play one last song, which caused the crowd to protest fervently, as they were clearly having the time of their lives.
Altogether, both Acorn Project and brothers gow gave Winston’s a very special performance for their patrons to enjoy. Acorn Project is currently on west coast tour in support of their newly released album. Also about to go on tour is brothers gow, who will be going into uncharted territory in an effort to spread their music all across the nation. You can catch a free brothers gow show on November 1st at Mother’s Saloon in Ocean Beach, which will be their first public show after their tour across America.