Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Six String Sting

music_SixStringStingSeanSmithWebExclusive: Pacific Grove guitar maven brings finger-picking magic to The Crepe

“I guess I always loved music my entire life,” says guitarist Sean Smith, recalling the Fisher-Price toy music kit he had as a toddler, which had horns, whistles, tambourines and drums. “There is this picture of me freaking out over it. Music has always been a huge part of my life, from before I can remember.”

After playing in rock bands growing up, doing the solo acoustic bit in his early 20s, and playing for influential San Francisco indie rockers Citay, Smith left to pursue the “doom metal, Krautrock, dark folk” style found on his latest record, Huge Fluid Freedom, which dropped Aug. 30.

Smith, who hails from Pacific Grove and currently lives in San Francisco, says that for him, the songs on his latest release—a collection of four moody electric dirges that shift and modulate under a thick layer of fuzzy sludge distortion—are the logical next step for him. Huge Fluid Freedom “marks my major departure,” Smith says.

Prior to his latest effort, Smith was more of an acoustic guitar guy, even if those acoustic guitars were cranked up through amplifiers and run through a litany of effects pedals. On his new record, he embraces the electric guitar in a new way: as an instrument capable of more than just rocking out.

Now Smith uses his guitar to create what he calls “cinematic sprawl”—layer upon layer of heavily effected guitar sounds. The result is a droning record that sounds more like a looser, less rhythmic Mogwai, meeting a darker version of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno's No Pussyfooting.

Since 2005, Smith's solo recordings have been inspired by a man by the name of John Fahey, who blazed a new genre known as American Primitive in the ’60s and ’70s, by combining blues and folk finger picking with more modern and dissonant arrangements.

The influence of American Primitive can still be heard in Huge Fluid Freedom's rambling phrases and the finger-picked acoustic guitar of “Ourselves When We Are Real.”

Beginning on Sept. 14, Smith will play three consecutive Wednesday nights at The Crepe Place—each night supported by acts almost exclusively of his choosing. During Smith’s residency, he wants to make sure he doesn't disappoint, so he has taken care to plan three distinctly different performances—selecting different acts to augment each night’s set.

“Every show I play is unique,” he says. “You'll never see the same Sean Smith set. They just don't exist.”

Smith will play solo electric guitar at the first show, accompanied by two amps and a multi-track looping pedal. He won't craft backing tracks to play too, but rather he will deliver a constantly shifting set of loops that overlap in ways that he hopes the audience will find interesting. He will be supported by The Pack AD, a heavy blues rock duo from Canada, and the loose, jangly rock of Felton-based Misty Mountain.

On Sept. 21 he will play what he calls “heavier doomier stuff,” and will be joined by Prize Hog, which he aptly describes as “goth Melvins.” Phil Manley, formerly of the Trans Am and The Fucking Champs, will play a solo set.

Finally, closing out the series, Smith will play with his current trio, performing what he describes as a combination of “King Crimson, the Melvins and John Fahey” in one non-stop, interconnected and uninterrupted stream of music. “We don’t stop for anything,” says Smith. “I’m trying to make it be like a real concert experience—it’s not merely seeing a band go through the motions of playing a few songs they wrote. We’re sort of massaging lots of concepts into a long continuous piece.” Also playing at the residency's finale are Ava Mendoza and Three Leaf.

Asked about his inspiration for the three concert stint, Smith says, “This entire series is to reflect a love affair with the guitar and sort of show off all my favorites.”


Sean Smith plays at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, Wednesday, Sept. 21, and Wednesday, Sept. 28, at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

 

Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.