Barcelona. Photo: AJ Ragasa
Fans of electronic and indie pop have two excellent show options later this week. Thursday night at Luigi’s features a bill full of dreamy, upbeat pop: Pageantry (Texas) and Memory Motel (Nevada) play with new local act Duke Chevalier. And Friday, Assembly will host Barcelona, a band formerly referred to as Seattle’s Coldplay.
Earlier this year, Barcelona dropped three EPs that stray wildly far from the piano-driven indie rock the band had become known for. The records—Love Me, Love You and Know Love—showcase R&B-tinged, electronic soundscapes that form a cohesive narrative about, you guessed it, love. It moves from manic to smooth to something a little more balanced.
“We wanted to do something more tongue in cheek, less serious and stop trying so hard,” said vocalist Brian Fennell.
Fennell said the band got tired of its second album, with its raw, live nature, before it even came out. They wanted to try out the sounds that they were actually listening to. Now Fennell doesn’t play piano at all. Instead, Barcelona’s newest member plays a “key-topia,” or “key fortress,” full of analogue synth.
Friday night will mark Sacramento’s first chance to hear the new sounds live, along with Fennell’s light show. He said it gives off the vibe of cheesey, awkward Bar Mitzvah parties or middle school dances.
Though Barcelona hasn’t actually been in town in years. Fennell remembers the last visit well—it was pre-iPhone days, and the band desperately wanted In N Out, and someone’s Blackberry directed them toward In N Out bail bonds instead. Oops.
Back to Thursday night at Luigi’s. Pageantry comes to us fresh from excellent SXSW buzz, and the Texas natives boast a low-fi, psychedelic dream-pop that would probably suit fans of Tame Impala or Grizzly Bear. Folks might remember supporting act Memory Motel from a show at Bows & Arrows shortly before the venue closed. Though the band’s tunes online are of the experimental garage rock variety, frontman Chris Gibson says their new stuff is more like experimental noise pop—hip hop beats meet indie rock. Think Alt J or Miike Snow.
Opening the show is Duke Chevalier, a brand new project fronted by Seattle transplant Sam Elliot. And if you like world-influenced indie pop, you will definitely want to listen to Duke Chevalier’s lone recording below.