Seattle. Birthplace of Grunge. Home to Nirvana, Tom Robbins, Microsoft, Nintendo, the Mariners, Macklemore, Mario Batali, Sasquatch (the festival), Bumbershoot, and Mighty-O’s Vegan Donuts. And of course, Jimi Hendrix. I’d like to add Ivan & Alyosha to that already formidable list. Just who might they might be? Perhaps the next great musical act to come out of Seattle. Perhaps they are the next big thing in all of the pacific northwest. And beyond.
Ivan & Alyosha are Tim Wilson, Pete Wilson, Ryan Carbary, and Tim Kim. Although Tim and Pete are related, the original duo of Tim W and Ryan are not brothers. None of them have any connection (that they know of) to Russia. So why are they named after fictitious brothers created by one the most renowned authors of all time? The name was actually suggested by a producer friend who was a fan of the book. Tim W. explained to me that they found similarities in many of themes written about in The Brothers Karamazov and their own songs.
Speaking of songs the music is very good. While it’s not necessarily the most original style on the market -it’s your standard indie folk-rock – they more than make up for it with substance, presentation and fashion choices. They sound exactly how you’d expect four late-twenty/early-thirty-somethings with guitars to sound. A high-energy groove fest.
The crowd was small (under 100) but that just made the show that much better. If your basement was big enough, you could fit the entire audience inside. I’d expect that Ivan & Alyosha would be the friends you’d invite to provide the music. You could easilt get drunk to them (and a few did). But one does not need alcohol to enjoy these cats. Their attitude is infectious, although Carbary does play the slightly uncomfortable and awkward performer really well. Frontman Tim Wilson reminds me. of Ricky Wilson, the Kaiser Chiefs’ frenetic lead singer. No wonder the crowd kept asking them to play on into the night.
The tunes are extremely catchy. The folk and rock influences are definitely apparent, but I particularly enjoyed the songs that were tinged ever so slightly with gospel – both lyrically and musically – which is not surprising given their namesake and the content of many of the songs. It definitely added a whole new layer to an already wildly successful genre. My friend the rock star summed it up quite succinctly “it gave me a lady boner”. Clearly, several of the other XX chromosomes in the crowd were feeling it too
Their first full-length album, All The Times We Had, was released in February, around the same time that the video for their first single – Running For Cover – was made. Watch the video here:
They are also very down-to-earth people and I will forgive Tim W. for thinking that Saskatoon is ‘northern’. I really, really, really enjoyed this show (one the best this year) and only hope that they have the opportunity to play a larger venue their next time through Vancouver. If The Lumineers had love children with Nate Ruess, they would be Ivan & Alyosha. Hello Seattle!
RIYL: The Kaiser Chiefs, The Lumineers, fun., She & Him, Of Monsters and Men