A narrow race to get to the Radio Room in time to see some live music was won by yours truly with the margin of a heartbeat. This is the first time I’ve caught a show here. I was pleased to find out that the band I had been told would be starting at 10:00 was actually playing the first chord to their first song as I walked in at 11:30. What luck!
I was first hit by a wash of what I thought to be keyboard pads and synth strings, to look at the stage and see only two people playing instruments up there. One on guitar and one on drums. The sound was horribly unbalanced with sustained distortion killing my ear bones, so I retreated to the bar room for temporary safety. The rich guitar sound was dreamy and the vocals were soft and a bit too light to compete with the decibel level of the music. I turned to the sound guy and saw him tickling his I-Phone as lead singer, James Meetze, requested more vocals in his monitor. I could have throttled him, empathizing with the frustration of the performers on stage.
After hearing a couple of Dreamtiger's songs,I was able to come up with an aural comparison of The Cocteau Twins meets Slowdive in their carefully crafted songs. James mentioned that their other guitar player, Blake Jackson, got stuck in Los Angeles and they would have to try their best without him. I never felt he was missing. At this time two ladies came on stage. One of them taking to the bass and Desiree Cooper took up the second vocal mic. This drew me in a bit closer as the second song started. This tune seemed a bit happier than the last with lofty bass lines that were reminiscent of the Railway Children’s tracks. I loved looking at her Fender stack which was putting out clear and rounded tone, not to mention the shiny screen which drew light to it. Desiree’s voice was alluring and sweet, with a roundness that pleaded with your heart strings.
James and Desiree seemed to be finding eachother’s presence as the third song began and their melodies seemed to dance around, intertwining, as they mingled with the layers of guitar effects. Later, upon hearing their recordings, I don’t think the club’s sound system did enough for this band.Dreamtiger'ssongs are hypnotic and soothing when balanced correctly. James was playing a white Eastwood guitar which I learned was a Canadian brand that I had never heard of that typically made reproduction models, but this was one of their originals and he gave me a bit of a brand lesson after the set.
Drummer, Thomas Brewster, kept the beat tight and mellow throughout. Where most drummers might need to thrash about the cans a bit, Thomas seemed quite content and fluid as he worked through the next two songs which were notably off their debut e.p., “Glisten”, released on Purr Factory Records. The one I noted was “Fragile Girl”, which carried over sentiment and emotion even though I couldn’t make out the lyrics. Then James remarked, “We’re playing eleven more songs and all of them are over twenty minutes long.” Although the small group of ten or so were sitting along the bar top, everyone was listening and applauding graciously at the conclusion of each number.
On their next tune, Meetze comments that this song is called “Bougainvillea” and it is about a flower. Someone retorted from the shadows of the dark room with “LIAR!” I can only imagine their must have been some inside joke. Desiree came through with power mostly by herself and was joined in the choruses with nice harmonies. Through all this, the bass player never looked up from her guitar.
“If you still have eardrums . . .”, which mine were a bit rattled, but I kept on through the last song and this was my favorite. Cooper kept a melody line that offered rhythm to the track as well as the bass and drums. James deftly sang over it all while texturizing the room with his barrage of synth-style guitar chords. Definitely a good number to close on.
As the Roland Jazz Chorus 120 exhaled it’s final breath for the night, the band started cleaning up. I definitely would like to see these guys again in a club with better sound and a larger shoe gazer crowd who would definitely get what Dream Tiger is trying to do. I am eager to go home and listen to the e.p. to dissect James Meetze’s words, as he is a Poetry and English teacher by day. Perhaps next time I will be singing along.
- City: San Diego
- Phone: 619-284-3323
- Performance: Dream Tiger
- Name: The Radio Room
- Address: 3519 El Cajon Boulevard