Ural Thomas & The Pain

Ural Thomas & The Pain

Battlehooch, Meernaa

Mon · November 5, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$15.00

This event is all ages

Ural Thomas & The Pain
Ural Thomas & The Pain
If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR.

It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.”

In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records.

In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall).

One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.”

A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.”

Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?
Battlehooch
Battlehooch
Battlehooch is the kind of band you thought went extinct with landline phones & cassette tapes. In one sense they’re a band from another, sturdier era: a band that releases consistently quality material on a consistent basis, a band that doesn’t sacrifice creative drive for commercial interest, a band that grows and evolves with each successive release. From the beautiful madcap mess of debut LP Piecechow to the more refined yet still quite zany jams on Hot Lungs to a cool, polished psych-rock sheen on 2014’s Wink EP, Battlehooch has proven itself as a band built to last. They may possess an old-school mindset, but their music is weird & diverse enough to fit into this wild new century.

Formed in San Francisco, the birthplace of psychedelia, it’s fitting that the six-piece collective echoes the city’s tie-dyed past in its own compositions. However, the group isn’t content with becoming a mere tribute to a time period they never lived through. Instead, Battlehooch updates the sound of psychedelia for a new generation, one that can now access dozens of genres & millions of songs with a few clicks on their iPhones. Battlehooch reflects this modern trend of manic music consumption: on any of their many releases, the listener will be treated to a sonic smorgasbord, bouncing from hard rock to dance-pop to cartoony head trips to flirtations with electronica & jazz & Afrobeat & everything else in between within the span of a few minutes, sometimes even seconds.
Meernaa
Meernaa
Meernaa is Carly Bond’s beautiful, freaky dream. When you listen to her songs, you have the feeling of walking alone in the woods, sometimes spooked and sometimes elated. The group is comprised of Carly Bond (guitar and vocals), Rob Shelton (keys), Andrew Maguire (drums) and Doug Stuart (bass). The Oakland-based Meernaa have a gift for balancing intimate songs with immersive psychedelic arrangements. Meernaa’s debut EP Strange Life (out 6/8/18 on Native Cat) is no exception, building on the framework they have previously established on a series of singles with even more depth and complexity.

When not working on their own music, members of Meernaa work as engineers and session musicians at John Vanderslice’s renowned Tiny Telephone Studios, and their vast knowledge of audio production has worked its way into Strange Life as well. Lead single "Good Luck” is built on a foundation inspired by the melodies of Muddy Waters. Through repetitive guitar lines and a plaintive mantra the song is driven into the present in a chorus of glittering synths. "Wildest Eyes," another standout track, was on the verge of being scrapped in the studio before finding life through funky bass lines, poignant percussion and a 70’s soul-inspired production.

Woven through each one of these songs is Bond’s transfixing voice; what starts as an amorous croon can transform into a full eruption. In the title track “Strange Life” there is a theme, she explains,“a longing for truth above all else and the frustration that comes with not having it-- in relationships with others, with oneself, and the conundrum of just being alive;” her emotive, elastic melodies and tone are perfectly suited to tackle those complexities.

Meernaa’s Strange Life EP is expansive and arresting; the group is able to create a thick and moody backdrop that takes the listener through moments of catharsis just as easily as moments of spirited playfulness.
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
http://www.thechapelsf.com