Twist and shout: Teahouse rocks, Outback rolls

at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar;

The Brown Notes
at Outback Lodge
Thursday, August 7

The Twisted Branch is slowly becoming one of my favorite places to see music. The environment is chill, and the drink and food menu is unique and satisfying if you are into tastebud exploration. What attracts me the most is the variety of music the venue hosts. Twisted Branch is the only venue in town that actively supports progressive music of all types. Honestly, it is a shame more venues don't open themselves to the new wave of music lovers who are into non-traditional audio-art forms (i.e. not the standard band format).

This past week, Twisted Branch ran a nightly series called Soft Control, featuring DJs spinning a wide variety of progressive and world music. Unfortunately, I missed all but one of the days. Thursday I managed to catch world music collective, Tanakh, hailing from Richmond. The line-up was unique– saxophone, bass, violin, percussion and singer/acoustic guitarist. They concocted an ambient blend of various international folk vibes with melancholy overtones. Depending on the tunes, I was either whisked away into the various textures or annoyed by not-so-subtle attempts at being experimental. Overall, it was quite enjoyable. I would have liked the vocals turned down and the instrument mix a bit more present. Regardless, I stayed until the end. They must have been doing something right.

After being sucked into a dreamy subconscious coma due to Tanakh and an incredibly blissful cup of Sencha tea, I needed to shake myself awake for fear that I might fall asleep at the wheel going home. Thus I headed to the Outback Lodge. The band performing when I arrived was from Miami and called themselves the Brown Notes. I dug how they rocked the white button-down shirts, black ties, buzz cuts, spiked hair, and high-energy three-minutes-or-less tunes. The lead singer had a style that bordered on straight-ahead rapping. I couldn't really make out what he was saying, except for the song choruses. If there was some deep meaning in his lyrics, it was probably better that he didn't waste the words on the embarrassingly empty room. Throughout the set, the group pleaded for someone to buy a t-shirt so that they could have money for food and gas. I felt sorry for them because I thought they put on a good show. Had a crowd interested in their kind of music been there, they probably would have been thoroughly entertained. Miami is a long way away, though. I think we may have seen the last of the Brown Notes.