Light Thieves Live at Peeve's

Imagine this.

You find it hard to concentrate in the suburbs. It really isn’t that safe after all, what with murder-suicides taking place just a quarter mile away from your comfortable, ranch-style home.

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In search of clarity, you head downtown to the headier environs of the Fulton Mall. It only takes ten minutes to arrive. You head through the darkness to Peeve’s Public House, former home of Milano, Cafe Corazon and Fresno Brewing Company.

Once inside, the music of Light Thieves greets you, a volcanic blast of math-rock time signatures, dense basslines and vintage synth sounds that jolts you to the core of some semi-subconscious level you didn’t know existed.

Preparing to embark on a west coast tour, Light Thieves had plenty of friends in the crowd Monday night. With a growing reputation as one of the best live bands in California, they did not disappoint. Delivering a fierce, taut and exploratory set, they played a mix of new and old songs to a dedicated audience.

It’s been a Summer of Troubles for most of the world. And maybe indie music won’t help you find answers in the moments when you realize that some of the truths you believe in might actually not be true at all. But it’s a community experience, looking for signs of progress and health, when you learn new acronyms like ISIS and IKR but don’t understand why people aren’t afraid of the police acting like soldiers.

Sometimes Light Thieves play a song and you aren’t sure if it’s funny or sad. Which is perfect when equilibrium is elusive and holes are opening in the fabric of space and time. Maybe it’s an inside joke.

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The Ataris at Strummers

I am about a week behind on life, which seems appropriate given that at least one week was spent getting over some kind of upper respiratory infection. Last Sunday, I reunited with Chevron Girl alums Sean and Nathan (just the three of us for the first time since May 2007) for the reunion of pop-punk stalwarts The Ataris at Strummers in Fresno.

Kris Roe in Fresno

Like so many bands from the era (those NOT named The Get Up Kids btw) Kris Roe and Co.’s back catalog hasn’t aged consistently well, but boy, we had a ridiculously fun time singing along about the days gone by.

Maybe PopHeartEtc contributor Sean Cohea has more editorial thoughts to add but I’ll try to not spoil it by getting all sentimental, which would be akin to a punk band avoiding the inevitable kryptonite that we all know as “just one piano ballad, just this one time.” Again, TGUK are the only post-punk act I know of to really pull off the heartfelt ballads.

Here’s some video of “San Dimas High School Football Rules” which includes a cameo by some dog on the stage that all the girls thought was totes adorbs. Kris, you’ve still got a way with the ladies! In all seriousness, the band sounded tight and well-prepared and while So Long, Astoria is not my favorite The Ataris album (that would be Blues Skies, Broken Hearts), the original lineup played with zesty special sauce gusto and refrained from any silly revisionist history.

One question for my friends also heading to this tour, does this make you want to forgive Kris for Welcome The Night?

And finally, new music from The Ataris!