Pin It

Moonage Daydream 

Space Opera 77 has figured out glam rock. Now they just need to work out a decent demo.

click to enlarge MARKUS BURNS
  • Markus Burns

“My idea of the end of the world is plants growing around a television set,” Drake Wilcox says. “Everyone is dead and all that we’ve got left is this TV playing reruns of The Cosby Show.”

Wilcox and his band, Space Opera 77, are futurist-naturalists. Their music clings to the possibility that the end of the world as we know it is coming. They claim technology will eventually crumble. Nature will fight back.

That’s a good explanation for now, Wilcox says, hesitantly but still satisfied. “We kind of always have this idea in the back of our heads that no one will get to listen to our music except in this moment,” he says.

As the name suggests, the project was intended to be a rock opera. Forged out of boredom, the opera developed into a band in the last year. Since then, the mostly local group (harpist Melissa Achten recently moved to Seattle) has been slowly saturating the Spokane music scene.

The band’s indie-rock sound is polished — mature, given the band members’ collective experience and ages (20, 20 and 26). Driven by bluesy drums, a guitar, an occasional harp and an upright bass, there’s a sense of restrained power to the music. It’s dangerously close to being too loud and too heavy, but the young band keeps this energy in check.

Wilcox’s voice has a sexy, emotional-yet-detached swagger to it. He’s the type of front man who’s contagious but also one who begs the question: How can a 20-year-old with a blond curly Afro and knitted horse sweater have such stage presence?

Much like some of his favorites, Wilcox’s on-stage persona is grandiose. Think Ziggy Stardust and Freddy Mercury.

“We put ourselves in an alter ego of sorts,” Wilcox says, laughing and sounding like he’s convincing himself. “We’re bringing our outer space religions to the rest of the world.”

The band’s semi-theatrical performances often attempt to revive the rock operas and performances of the 1970s. Weird things almost have to be done when performed lived, Wilcox says: “I don’t think bands should just show up in their street clothes and perform.”

To date, the band’s onstage antics include playing in army uniforms painted gold, while the game Astromash plays on a screen behind them. Twice at Empyrean, they played with more than 500 balloons on stage. The band says they’ll incorporate more costumes and props when time and money allow.

“We spend all of our show earnings on costumes,” says Andrew Lewis, the band’s drummer. “It’s a way to get someone to watch us, even if it might be all bullshit and lies.”

The dynamic between Wilcox and Lewis is unique. Both have big curly locks, and both are eager to talk about their music. The expression “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” couldn’t fit more perfectly. Right now, the duo isn’t entirely sure of themselves — what they should say and what they shouldn’t say.

Conversations with them feel like you’re stealing the password to a best friend’s club. They know they can play. They’re good. They understand the music part of the music business — but the business part is beyond them.

The local band is unsigned, but they say — in a roundabout way — they’ve got potential investors. It’s all a matter of learning to make a demo, Lewis says.

“Our demo was recorded in four different places and mixed in five different places, and it sounds like it,” he says. “Our goal is to be good enough musically that the demo can be so bad someone will want to record us.

“We just keep going,” he concludes. “It’s kind of like walking blind.”

Until whichever comes first — the end of the world or a record deal — the band will keep playing, plan a tour and hold down their everyday jobs until the extraordinary happens.

“We didn’t form this band to be a local Spokane band,” Wilcox says.

Space Opera 77 plays with Sirens Sister and Paid Under Envy at the Blvd on Saturday, March 6, at 9 pm. Tickets: $5. 21 . Call: 455-7826.

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Meet 
the Sun
  • Meet the Sun

    Karrie O'Neill is finally ready to take her music full time, complete with a brand-new album and upcoming tour
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Party like it's 1975
  • Party like it's 1975

    The latest British pop sensation invades Spokane
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Act Naturally
  • Act Naturally

    After a brain tumor, one local man's recovery was aided by listening to classic rock. This weekend, he gets to meet Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
The 1975 [SOLD OUT]

The 1975 [SOLD OUT] @ Knitting Factory

Sat., Oct. 22, 8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jordy Byrd

  • Halloween City
  • Halloween City

    Marijuana-inspired costumes for stoners
    • Oct 22, 2015
  • Farm to Pipe
  • Farm to Pipe

    Locals Canna House opens in Spokane Valley
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • Social High
  • Social High

    A Spokane company launches a new cannabis-focused social media platform
    • Sep 24, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Kids Aren't Alright

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children can't quite strike the balance between whimsy and darkness
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

indigo girls

spokane symphony

Readers also liked…

  • That Was Awesome!
  • That Was Awesome!

    White Mystery hits the stage and screen at Volume
    • May 20, 2015
  • Signal Transformation
  • Signal Transformation

    Local rapper Cary Hays is about to perform for the first time in two years, and he wants you to know how much he's changed
    • Mar 10, 2016

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation