For those who were willing to come out on Thursday for a free local show at the Baby Bar, Outercourse and the Dancing Plague of 1518 kicked off their upcoming four-show tour last night, and it was a blaring launch.
Connor Knowles' solo project, Dancing Plague, opened the night with an equally haunting and thumping set of darkwave electronic music, using a beats machine, guitar riffs, synth layers, processed vocals and found sounds to pair with his projected visuals.
The Dancing Plague of 1518 will be damned if you don't find yourself at least nodding along to the whirling basslines or shifting your feet with his syncopated synthetic drums. Knowles' act is a refreshing addition to a local music scene that often gets labeled as being too genre-specific. Knowles has come out with two EPs over the short year or so he's recorded as this project.
Heavy Seventeen linked the two touring acts with a middle set that offered up plenty of lo-fi alt-rock vibes. There was plenty of bobbing and shuffling from the crowd as the band enjoyed playing slacker rock that feels timeless. It was a treat to listen to some good buzzing alt-rock and to see the fun that frontman Matt Lakin and company have.
Outercourse closed out the night with a set that seemed to only get better the further they got into it. Fresh off the release of their Spring '17
tape, the band, led by vocalist and guitarist Ben Jennings, showed the acumen it takes to be a solid lo-fi project.
Jennings and fellow guitarist Alex Smith adeptly slice through the mix of bassist Adam Smith and drummer Norman Robbins. Jennings' vocals rest atop the lo-fi buzzing and pinging guitars and will quickly swerve from yelps and singing into gravelly shouts whenever he and Smith rip into their next bouncing riff.
This is most likely the final lineup for Jennings' project, which has seen its current members swap instruments over the last three years. And it's the final roster for good reason, as their closing number, "Mel's Hole," played to the individual fortes of each member. It was a pleasure to see the band play off of each other in the closing break, with Robbins blasting through the solos on his battered drum kit.
Outercourse and Dancing Plague of 1518 will play Eugene (Old Nick's Pub), Tacoma (Bob's Java Jive) and Bellingham (The Swillery) over the holiday weekend, April 14-16.