The Crocodile, an almost legendary venue for hosting many now-famous artists just breaking out and seasoned musicians who stopped in for surprise shows in the midst of larger tours, was a favorite for scenesters and musicians alike. "We'd been going to the Croc for years," says Dave Brewer, lead guitarist for the Bradbury Press. "It was a decent-sized club with great sound. You knew that [when you played there] you were going to sound good and you were going to look good."
After their shows there last summer, the Seattle-based band purchased the multi-track recordings from the club, and the four band members quickly realized they had something marketable on their hands. "It was a no-brainer for us to put this out as an album," says Brewer. It was also practical, considering that Darren Golden, the band's lead vocalist and primary songwriter, moved to Boston to pursue a solo acoustic career more than a year ago.
The Bradbury Press is known for its energetic acoustic offerings, with Golden characterizing the vocals with an Eddie Vedder-inspired vibrato. Its first two albums, Hanscom (2002) and The Front (2003), prove Golden and Brewer's songwriting abilities, featuring lyrics that reflect their work ethic as well as metaphor-heavy introspection. The live album is its first new release in five years, but it brings to light the remaining close-knit musicianship and mutual energy of all the players that have been there all these years.
Brewer met Golden about eight years ago. "[A friend of mine] told me that he had this little brother who made music, and that I might want to check him out," recalls Brewer. Golden and bass player Travis Hartman had already begun collaborating on music at that point when Brewer stepped into what would be a hallmark moment for the band. "I was blown away [by them], and I think it was about two weeks after that we came out with an acoustic album." They performed as a trio for a while before hiring drummer Ian Larsen, who later was swapped for Greg Garcia before the band started touring along the West Coast.
Since Golden's move to Boston, the band has been working hard to make the long-distance relationship work, e-mailing each other recordings and ideas for new music. In the meantime, the three who have stayed on the West Coast are performing with other bands. Their bus, Shelley, stays in storage most of the time, but she's fired back up for another go with Darren back in town, and the Bradbury Press is getting back down to business. Brewer promises that there will be two brand new songs ready to debut when they hit Spokane.
Bradbury Press at Moon Time on April 10 at 9 pm. $2. Call (208) 667-2331. Also at Blue Spark on April 11 at 9:30 pm. $3. Call 838-5787. And at Capone's on April 12 at 9 pm. $5. Call (208) 667-4843.