The Bootleg Theater's garage-styled venue became home to Ramona Falls on February 26 on their jaunting Northward journey back to Portland with San Francisco's own Social Studies. And it's really been quite a journey for both bands in different ways. In the months since their last tour together, Social Studies put out an album. And Ramona Falls solidified-even with new people on tour.
Quiet opened the evening unquietly. They left reminders aplenty of a glorious 1980s past in which people went in droves to secret underground shows. One of the guys was out in the audience playing his Ed Sheeran 3/4 acoustic.
Suddenly with Social Studies it was reminiscent of those rare San Francisco days when the sun breaks through clouds and Janis Joplin goes sunbathing in Golden Gate Park while listening to 80s music on her iPod. It's a nice break from the June gloom and overbearing foghorn calls of reality. As an ensemble they hang together well. As a bonus, lead singer Natalia is quite easy on the eyes.
The highlight of the evening was, of course, Ramona Falls. Knopf has grown into confident man bringing his own songs to life which are everything from sweet, delicate and highly personal odes to hefty thrashers. Knopf definitely loves dissonance, alternating meters, and heavy metal. Even the security guard who was shooing people about bopped a bit in the back of the house as Ramona Falls played through a selection of songs from the albums "Intuit" and "Prophet."
Knopf paused in his concert to ask if people had questions. Someone asked, "How many people are in the band?" He answered, "Four." But, really, he brings a different touring band with him culled from various friends as their availability allows. Included this time are Lauren (violin), Brandon (bass and keyboard), and Jerry (drums). However, last tour Brandon played guitar.
Though "Prophet" is a less acoustic than "Intuit" having a violin on tour brings out that acoustic side more and truly compliments many of the songs. This is one of those bands which works well with a feminine and acoustic presence onstage. The violin parts work particularly well for songs like "On The Darkest Day," "Russia," and "Proof;" and added new interest to "I Say Fever."
And thankfully, the answer to the question "Are you working on more stuff?" was a very quick "Yes" from Knopf. Hopefully at some point in the near future Knopf will be back with yet another tour. It seems like the band would probably like it if the audience were to mosh a bit during "Brevony." It's OK to cheer loudly when the band plays that old favorite Menomena song "Wet & Rusting." It's even still OK to miss Menomena as it was with Knopf. With a greater level of confidence in his skills as a solo artist, it's expected that a third album will be a solid one.
There is an interview with Brent Knopf below from a few years ago when he was still with Menomena. It definitely needs an update since many things have changed. Hopefully Examiner.com will be able to catch up with Knopf for an interview. Until the next tour, Ramona Falls can be found online at www.RamonaFalls.com. And when they do tour, don't forget to purchase absolution for your illegal downloads.