Pageant Dads, Heatwarmer (WA), and Belda Beast

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014, at 1078 Gallery

Photo by Tara Johnson

Tonight was to be my first time seeing Pageant Dads at an actual concert (and not at an awards show, or a variety show or something, where their sets tend to be sort-of choreographed comedic trainwrecks), and I was excited. But first, we have Belda Beast.

Right off the bat, you notice some veterans in their line-up: Zach Zeller, who’s spent a fair amount of time as an acoustic singer- songwriter (see his music video “It Was True” on YouTube), and Jeff Cole from Monk Warrior, who was playing lead guitar.

This Redding rock band was really solid, and they maintained a nice sense of motion, but they didn’t offer very groundbreaking songs. These were four great musicians that weren’t taking enough creative risks for my taste—amazing drumming though, and I loved it when Zach would scream. More of that, please!

Through most of Heatwarmer’s set I was gone getting sto— I mean, doing journalism (see page 8). I came back an hour later from a very enlightening interview, in an uplifted state perfect for music appreciation, but I only caught this Seattle band’s last two songs.

I was immediately struck by their warm, fuzzy tones, coming out of a nice keyboard, a nice guitar, and a drummer who didn’t use the snare very much, preferring to make large splooshy sounds with these huge crash cymbals of his. The singer/guitarist sounded less like a rock vocalist, and more like some annoying uncle reading children’s books out loud.

It left a weird taste in my mouth. Heatwarmer’s music was so good though, that I could (almost) forgive the buzzkill vocals. There was a fucking mindblowing dual keyboard/guitar solo that had me hallucinating colorful shapes floating through space. I was thankful to experience these guys live, all weirdnesses aside.

As mentioned before, I was used to seeing Pageant Dads sets that imploded before they could really begin, for comedic purposes, to fantastic effect. Tonight they played so many actual songs, front to back, that I was forced to actually evaluate them as a band—turns out they’re pretty damn good. Really solid math rock that gets really heavy, and really trippy, with occasional hit-or-miss vocals. You probably aren’t surprised to hear of their awesomeness—anything where Alex Coffin and/or Gavin Fitzgerald are given free rein tends to become amazing. “Baby Momma Drama” was the best track, with a climax line that went something like, “No baby momma, no momma drama! Simple!”

I suppose it’s my duty here to relate the Dads’ latest misadventures as well as their music, for you sad saps who were foolish enough to be absent. So, their truck broke down on the way out to Burning Man, and fate brought a new friend into their lives, to fix their vehicle, and elevate their souls. The five of them partied hard on the side of the highway for a half hour, until their new friend mistakenly drank some lighter fluid meant for fire dancing, ate some too-old pasta, and died. At the end of the concert, they did a poi dance in honor of their deceased friend, then brought the corpse out and set it on fire.

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Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.