Live Reviews

The Gift Machine: Live at What The Heck Fest 2010

The Gift Machine live at What The Heck Fest 2010

The Gift Machine is Dave Matthies, who has been writing, recording and performing under the moniker, to my knowledge, since at least 1999 when a track or so of his appeared on a now out of print EP adequately titled Stuff Vol. 1. As many projects with roots in Anacortes and Olympia go, this one hasn’t always been just about Matthies. It has featured the honorable Phil Elverum (Microphones, Mount Eerie) and Karl Blau, among numerous others. Matthies is also one of the founders of What The Heck, so his presence makes perfect sense given his more recent transplantation to San Diego.

For the Fest, Matthies took the stage with a female percussionist, playing rough, rock-meets-pop tunes that would flirt with both the garage and bedroom pop sub-genres. As a duo, the band was comfortable filling a slightly minimal space, yet they didn’t refrain from packing their short set with plenty of harmony. One moment, they’d rock with a loud tune only to switch gears on the next song and focus on soft melodies and tranquil vocals. They do all of it with a hint of fuzz and the efficacy of romance.

During the show, a gathering happened nearby. Calvin Johnson was joined by Elverum and Blau. I took a candid shot, as their attire was too good to miss…

Phil Elverum, Calvin Johnson and Karl Blau

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