[Metroactive Music]

[ Music Index | Santa Cruz | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

[whitespace] Live & Up Close

Cayuga Vault showcase is a Blueprint for success

By David Espinoza

IN A TOWN that regularly serves up punk, funk and reggae bands like complimentary chips at Taqueria Vallarta, newcomer Blueprint is one of a kind. Sure, its sound can be summed up as alt-rock for preppies (as displayed by their designer shoe-wearing, digital video cam-sporting, Silicon Valley-type fans), but it's undeniably catchy alt-rock--the stuff that's going to take the band far. Performing at the Cayuga Vault Saturday, Jan. 19, along with Brian Travis' new project Chapter 13, Blueprint proved it has the live skills to back up its incredibly smart debut, Maybe Wednesday.

The band couldn't have found a better atmosphere to test out its material live--the tall ceiling and white walls of the Cayuga Vault (apparently a former bank) exude a simple elegance. Where other small SC venues like the Four-Eighteen Project are equally suited for live music and dance, the Cayuga Vault works better solely as an art house or concert space.

Kicking off the set around 9:30pm to a crowd clearly not accustomed to experiencing live rock & roll up close and personal (they tended to stay six to seven feet away from the floor-level band, compared to say, Hate Mail Express, which plays literally face-to-face with its audience), rhythm guitar guy Zach Friend (sparkling like a disco ball in a shiny silver shirt, which was matched by Dave Price--perhaps in homage to Rocket From the Crypt?) led the band into its set of Third Eye Blind-meets-Counting Crows styled rock. Lead vocalist Darren McClure has a rare set of lungs, and though his stage presence still seems to be developing, it surely won't be long before he starts getting pelted with merchandise from Victoria's Secret.

While the studio recordings of Maybe Wednesday include more acoustic guitars in the background, live the band is fully electric. The result is a more aggressive, louder and compelling Blueprint with plenty of winning songs up its sleeve. Take the tune "California," McClure's "Angry" song in which he laments the impossibly expensive cost of living on the West Coast. Lyrically bitter, musically simple, yet perkier than a cheerleader's pom-poms, McClure sings "California, I can't afford ya."

Opener Chapter 13 served up a platter of decent touchy-feely rock songs with well-placed guitar solos a la U2's Edge. Fronted by local singer/songwriter Brian Travis, Chapter 13 is considerably less folksy than his former band Wishcraft, though Travis retains the epic love song element. Travis is best when he teases Santa Cruz's fringe side in "The Conspiracy Song," which lists all the various theories--Mark Zepezauer would be hurt. Of course, Travis is really a romantic at heart and his lyrics more often are like, "She kissed me in the pouring rain on the trampoline, I guess what is was meant to be." Chapter 13's next gig at the Cayuga Vault is on Feb. 16.

Pick of the Week

You thought you'd never hear from them again? Well, indie-grrrl rockers the Preteens are heading back to SC for their CD release party Saturday (Jan. 26) at the Four-Eighteen Project along with Tenth of Always. For those who don't remember, there was a brief buzz about the Preteens about two years ago (they made the cover of Metro Santa Cruz) and then they packed up and moved out of town.

[ Santa Cruz | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

From the January 23-30, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate