Ivan & Alyosha, The Record Company, and Branches at The Independent, 08.14.13

A last minute addition to the bill, San Francisco's Branches started off the show with a living room-style set on the Independent's big stage. They were impressive performing as a three-piece, but also made me wish to hear them full-band one of these days. I may not have much to say, but rest assured it's because some things need to be experienced more than they need to be described. Back in April, I photographed Tumbleweed Wanderers' and Guy Fox's show at the Independent, and a band from LA called The Record Company opened that show. They played again tonight, but it didn't feel like a repeat performance of the previous show. Frontman Chris Vos and co played a soulful, rockin' set and engaged the rather shy audience in some crowd participation.

Headliners of the evening were Seattle's Ivan & Alyosha. A while back I downloaded a free acoustic EP of theirs from Noise Trade, largely because I knew what their band name references (two of the Brothers Karamazov from the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky). I liked what I heard but it wasn't a very thorough introduction. I was pleasantly surprised that Ivan & Alyosha were not the stereotypical indie band - dudes who just kind of stand there and play their instruments. No! They ran around and interacted with each other on stage. After the show I spoke briefly with frontman Tim Wilson, and mentioned this to him. He said that way back when they first began playing music, they made a conscious decision to just let go and be themselves on stage - and it certainly works. Wednesday's show will probably be one of my top 10 of 2013.