Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Friday May 17
7:00PM doors -- music at 8:00PM
••• ALL AGES
$24 in advance / $29 at the door
The Desert Dreaming Tour
alternative rock folk
-from Irvine, CA
-Dustin Kensrue was still a teenager when he formed Thrice, the dynamic and multifaceted
rock band who have been bending and blending genres for the past quarter century. Before
the group's touring schedule took him around the world, he spent his childhood in Southern
California, regularly heading into the desert to visit his paternal grandparents in Palm Springs.
While there, he would wander for hours through the rocky hills and sandy washes near their
home, and the landscape, colors, and stories of that sun-baked wilderness left a lasting impression.
Decades later, Kensrue summons the spirit of the American southwest with his third original studio
solo album, the evocative and eclectic Desert Dreaming. It's a transportive album that blurs the
lines between genre and geography, balancing the influence of old-school country western icons
like Marty Robbins and Gene Autry with the sharp songwriting of a modern musician who's spent
25 years on the road, onstage, and in the writing room. Kensrue approaches these songs like
a western novelist, filling them with details of the desert—the sound of coyotes howling in the
distance, the smell of sage and lilac in the dry wind, the lure of hidden treasure in the hills—and
punctuating the recordings with pedal steel guitar, train beats, and the strongest melodies
of his career."
The setting really is the main character of the record," says Kensrue. "I grew up in the southwest,
and over time, you can get so used to a certain kind of beauty that you stop seeing it. I used to
think, 'It's just so brown here.' When I moved back to the southwest after living in the Pacific
Northwest for a little bit, I gained a totally new appreciation for the landscape. I fell in love with the
desert all over again.
"That sense of rediscovery—of finally seeing something that's been right in front of you all along—
runs throughout the self-produced record. On "Lift Your Eyes," Kensrue's booming voice floats
above a backdrop of tremolo guitar and shuffling percussion like it's echoing off the canyon walls,
adding gravitas to the song's message. "It's about trying to genuinely experience the expansive
world that's laid out in front you, and not getting trapped in some shrunken and abstracted
version of it," he says. "We all have ways of imposing our own narratives and structures onto
the world. These can be useful, but they aren’t the thing itself. Sometimes we need to step back
and really look at what’s there instead of what we expect to see, both literally and metaphorically.”
A similar theme anchors songs like "Treasure in the West"—a campfire tune about someone
too blinded by gold lust to see the riches all around them—and "Heart of Sedona." In the latter
song, a man leaves the Verde Valley to join the seminary, only to lose his way, tangled up in
“councils and creeds.” His wandering eventually leads him home again, now an old man, and
the final verse finds him again back amongst the sandstone buttes of Sedona, preaching a
different kind of gospel. "That holy cross is truly something," he sings, "but Cathedral Rock's
the only church I need."
"So many of these songs are tied into the way I personally re-experienced the desert,"
explains Kensrue, who wrote Desert Dreaming on his acoustic guitar and recorded most of
the album at home, joined by collaborators like upright bassist Seth Richardson, pedal steel
guitarist Ave Levy, and drummer James McAlister. "I no longer look outside and say, 'There's
that brown space.' I can actually see it now. There are layers and layers of beauty everywhere
you look. Desert Dreaming is both a love letter to the southwest and a personal travel journal
of my own experiences in learning to open my eyes to the world in front of me.
”As a SoCal teenager who cut his teeth on punk-rock, Kensrue grew up avoiding the country
music that would eventually inspire Desert Dreaming. Johnny Cash became his gateway drug,
followed by classic crooners like Patsy Cline, cult heroes like Townes Van Zandt, and alt-country
pioneers like Whiskeytown, Drive-By Truckers, and Wilco. "That music was a portal into a
different time and a different way of telling stories," he remembers. "It became something that
pulled on me, and it became inevitable that I'd write a record like this. I think there's something
to be said for creating art that you have to make, even if it might disappoint or confuse someone
else. There's a real depth to just doing what you have to do.
"It's been years since Kensrue made his earliest trips into the Sonoran Desert to visit his
grandparents, gaining an appreciation for the southwestern landscape along the way. But this
record itself reaches even further back, leaning heavily into the ethos and aesthetics of the
country and western music of the 50’s and 60’s. And following another thread into the mid-century
he opens Desert Dreaming with "Death Valley Honeymoon," a song about his mother’s parent’s
own honeymoon in the Mojave Desert. It's a personal moment of an album that mixes biography,
history, and fiction, and it's one of the many songs that make this Desert bloom. Everything that
follows—the deep growl of Kensrue's baritone guitar, the spring reverb that drifts skyward like
woodsmoke, the trail-riding twang of songs like "Leaving Tonight For Santa Fe"—shows just how
expansive Kensrue's music can really be.
-from Orange County, CA
-When the feedback-laden, distorted-as-all-hell guitar intro to The Brevet’s new single,
“Locked & Loaded,” grinds to a crawl and lead singer Aric Chase Damm’s gritty vocals kick in,
there’s a moment where—if you’ve got an ounce of soul in your body—your foot starts tapping
almost involuntarily. The “woah-oh-oh” hook that hits next is the kind you feel in your bones,
the eminently danceable kind that makes you want to shoot straight up, kick your chair back,
and move. Every second “Locked & Loaded” begs for movement, an earworm that simply refuses
to quit. And making the tune all the more impressive, in a testament to the group’s raw creativity
and artistic ability, is the fact that The Brevet engineered and produced the track at the group’s recording space in Westminster, CA—where they’d also recorded their first two albums.
As the lead single off the band’s upcoming record, LEGS, “Locked & Loaded” performs a crucial
task: Not only is it a representation of the band’s new sound and of what fans can expect from
the forthcoming album; it is an indication of how far the band has come since their previous
release, American Novel—a groundbreaking, highly acclaimed LP, released in a series of chapters.
American Novel, the group’s sophomore album, was preceded by the Brevet’s debut record,
Battle of the Heart, and earned the band features and beaming reviews in such notable
publications as Paste magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Deli, Substream, OC Weekly,
and many more. Per Substream’s Stephanie Roe: “There are just some moments in life that
could use an extravagant soundtrack to make it feel complete. The Brevet are here to help
you do just that.”
American Novel also opened the door for The Brevet in the form of some amazing opportunities:
Songs from the record have been featured in movies like An Open Secret, The Good Lie, and
Ashby; on TV shows such as Growing up Fisher, NCIS New Orleans, 90210, and even American
Idol; and on TV networks like the MLB Network and the SEC Network (ESPN).
While the band has certainly enjoyed the exposure, as well as the accolades they’ve received
from critics and fans alike, they’re particularly excited for the release of their upcoming single—
because, to Damm, it sets the stage for a tighter, more mature, redefined Brevet. It represents
a band who, having already achieved significant commercial success, is free to be as creative
as they want, driving their music in a wholly new direction.
Damm, who helms the band as its primary creative force—though, of course, his fellow
members contribute to the writing, engineering, and production process—says, of the band’s
new sound:, that “Locked & Loaded” We’re writing in a way we want to write now. I’m not
trying to follow trends; I just want to write from my heart.”
-from Nashville, TN
-Brother Bird is the Nashville-based solo project of Caroline Swon.