Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indie rock band makes second free appearance

By Reno Sorensen, Copy Editor

The Lonely Forest found itself some company when Gig Harbor band Us on Roofs joined it in The Cave for its second free concert at Pacific Lutheran University.

The Nov. 10 concert, which roughly 300 students and community members attended, marked The Lonely Forest’s return to PLU after playing The Cave last December.

“It’s been awesome playing at PLU, both times,” Lonely Forest drummer Braydn Krueger said. “This show is an exact mimic of the time we played here last year, except there are a lot more people.”

Us on Roofs’ lead singer Brian Fisher said the Gig Harbor band had a history of playing with The Lonely Forest that stretches back to his high school days.

“We played a show with them in high school before we were Us on Roofs,” Fisher said. “They influenced us a lot, so it’s really great to be playing with them now.”

Us on Roofs has since played several shows with The Lonely Forest, including a show at Neumo’s in Seattle almost one year prior to the bands’ Nov. 10 show in The Cave.

The band’s strength lay in its driving, high energy tempos and rhythms.

Us on Roofs opened the show with a 30-minute set characterized by distinctly varied rhythmic patterns by drummer Nick Blodgett, relentless electric riffs by bassist Michael Farrow and guitarist Wesley Williams and an understated but refined vocal performance by Fisher.

“It was fun, the audience came right up to the stage,” Fisher said. “It was really high energy, and I was surprised to see people singing along.”

The Lonely Forest took the stage after Us on Roofs’ opening set. Lead singer John Van Deusen, wearing the same Mariners Ichiro shirt he wore at last year’s show, sat down at the keyboard and launched into the Forest’s set with his clear vocal style that listeners familiar with The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie would recognize.

“I think we all have our different tastes, but indie style stuff definitely keeps coming back up in our songs,” Krueger said.

The Lonely Forest brought with it all the best facets of the indie rock genre: considered, complicated melody and instrumentation and lyrics concerned with personal tragedy.

But the band broke free from the sometimes-folky stereotype of indie music with driving, agile percussion by Krueger and a heavy, almost-rock-‘n’-roll sound from bassist Eric Sturgeon and guitarist Tony Ruland.

The crowd responded enthusiastically to Van Deusen’s prompting and to his dry wit between numbers.

In the middle of the set, the band played two new, unrecorded songs. The crowd cheered when Van Deusen announced that the band planned to begin recording a new album after Thanksgiving.

Toward the end of the set, Pierce County Sheriffs arrived at the concert and handcuffed and removed a male audience member. The encounter was nonviolent and did not interrupt the show.

Mast reporters were not able to reach Pierce County Sheriff spokesmen for comment by the time of press.

The Lonely Forest will play at Twas The Night Before Deck, the pre-show to 107.7 The End’s Deck The Hall Ball, at Neumo’s in Seattle Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Visit the band’s MySpace page or official website for more information about shows and ticketing.

Kevin Knodell contributed to this article.