The Young Evils Tear it Up at EP Release Party (Photo Gallery)
Used to be, EP’s were nothing more than stopgaps between full-length releases–an excuse to get some kind of product, any kind of product, into fans’ hands. But today, with the game inexorably changed by the long-established digital revolution, a tiny handful of follow-up songs can be a major harbinger of a band’s directional change.
That’s a meandering way of saying that Foreign Spells, the latest EP from Seattle’s The Young Evils, rocks way harder than anything on their debut full-length Enchanted Chapel. It’s the sound of a promising young band firing on all eight cylinders and living up to that promise, all in a little over thirteen minutes.
The Young Evils pulled out all the stops for their EP release party last Friday. Great as their recordings have proven to be, they were a revelation live. Old songs accelerated kicking and screaming into the band’s newer, tougher sensibility–and the new material sounded rawer and even more urgent in person.
It helped that the band delivered onstage in a big way. Guitarist/singer Troy Nelson’s normally-detached baritone took on an undercurrent of frantic nervousness, and his hyperkinetic guitar strumming reflected those vocal tics in the best way. Co-vocalist MacKenzie Mercer made for a riveting foil: She’s barely legal drinking age herself (23), but commanded center stage like nobody’s damned business. Together, the lull of their vocal interplay became more intense (and way sexier) in the flesh, pushed on inexorably by the lock-step rhythm section of bassist Michael Lee and new drummer Eric Wennberg.
Oh, yeah, and the whole band looks as cool as they play–which is saying a lot. It’s a fools’ game to predict superstardom for any group in a town brimming with great music, but between Nelson’s punchy songwriting and The Evils’ sharp delivery of the songs, such a lofty scenario seems entirely possible for these guys.
Power duo The Grizzled Mighty opened up the night with a pretty awesome set of blues-inflected, big-riff rock. Ryan Granger worked his way around his guitar licks with serpentine confidence, and drummer Whitney Petty pounded the grooves down with jackhammer force. Two-person bare-bones rock outfits are more plentiful than Starbucks shops around these parts lately, but if they’re all as good as these guys, there’s no reason for anyone to gripe.