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Thinking man’s hard rock band

In Lunar Blue will rock your world and your brain

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By now, I’d imagine you’re probably sick and tired of me writing about Puyallup. It seems like every time I cover a band from P-town, all I can do is blabber and yak about my memories from growing up there.

Puyallup Viking football, yada, yada, yada. Skipping school and smoking cigarettes, yada, yada, yada. My red Toyota pickup and my flexible girlfriend, yada, yada, yada.

Even I’m a little tired of hearing about it.

Luckily, opportunities to write about bands from Puyallup don’t present themselves very often.  You couldn’t get me drunk enough to call Puyallup a musical hotbed.  I know for a fact plenty of talented musicians have, at one time or another, called Puyallup home. (Puyallup Fun Fact: Both Flash from Hell’s Kitchen and Portrait of Poverty and Jeff Rouse of Alien Crime Syndicate went to Puyallup High School.) But once bands actually get off the ground, they rarely claim Puyallup home. Why not just be from Tacoma, and avoid the sheep fucking jokes?

In Lunar Blue is an exception. They’re from Puyallup and they claim it … and they aren’t even hicks.

On Friday, May 4, In Lunar Blue will play the South Sound Garage. Those Who Were Dragged is also on the bill, and Damon Stuart will be the evening’s guest host.

I first heard about In Lunar Blue from Ryan Mitton, the band’s drummer. Shockingly enough, I went to high school with Mitton.  Puyallup’s the kind of place where you can’t help but have those sorts of quasi-incestuous relationships with people. Puyallup’s not that big, and if you’re from there, and you look into it, it usually turns out you went to school with someone’s sister or brother, or know someone’s family from Little League or youth group, or whatever.  That’s just the way it works.

I was working the door at Jazzbones, as I did for a period of time before the place was sold, and Mitton appeared looking a lot less wasted than I remembered him. In fairness, I believe the only times we hung out in high school we were both completely trashed. I’m sure he thought the same about me.

He was an impressive drummer back in the day, so I wasn’t surprised to hear he was still playing. I also wasn’t surprised to hear In Lunar Blue walked the experimental, progressive, hard rock line. I knew that was where Mitton’s musical interest was, and it only seemed natural he’d align himself with folks with similar tastes.

Months passed, and then I started noticing In Lunar Blue’s name popping up on flyers and club calendars all over town. The band was playing the Kitchen, the Garage, Studio Seven.

I figured I better take a closer look.

At heart, In Lunar Blue is a thinking man’s hard rock band. A lazy ass music writer would compare them to Tool, and an even lazier writer would point out that a lazy ass music writer would compare them to Tool.

In Lunar Blue is built off the rhythm section of Sheldon Smith on bass and Mitton. The two have been jamming together forever, and the fact In Lunar Blue doesn’t have a song that clocks in under five minutes reflects this. In Lunar Blue crafts epic songs, not afraid of being a bit over-the-top. If this was a different time, they’d definitely have a dark, He-Man looking dude with a battleaxe fighting off dragons on the cover of their album.

The In Lunar Blue album, by the way, is in the slow process of being written and recorded. They hope to have it available by winter of this year, but the typical financial restraints and recording costs, coupled with In Lunar Blue’s slow writing style, may push a release back to spring of ’08. The band does have a five song EP, Crescent, available on MySpace, and also an unmastered version of “Gravity,” which will be featured on the forthcoming album, available at shows.

“I would say people can expect (the new album) to be draining. We are putting a lot of energy into this. I think it will be a good nighttime driving record for over the Cascades and into the desert,” explains Mitton through e-mail.

“To write a song for us can take a week or a year. We don’t really come into songwriting with a pre-meditated idea. When we decide that we like something, we play the hell out of it. Sometimes what the part needs is total chaos and blasting energy, but what we’ve been learning is how to tap into space better — trying to figure out that dynamic. Still, being a heavy rock band is what we really enjoy.

“Being in this band for me is like family. We would be sitting around burping and farting anyway. We might as well be doing something productive with our cloudy time.”

In Lunar Blue will play the Garage this Friday, May 4. Don’t give in to the man shoving Cinco de Mayo down your throat, get drunk and fall down the night before!

In Lunar Blue

With: Fasa, Those Who Were Dragged, host Damon Stewart

When: Friday, May 4, 9:30 p.m.

Where: South Sound Garage, 933 Market St., Tacoma, 253.305.0069

Cost: $5

Cover bands

A few weeks ago I wrote about Just Dirt’s show at Hell’s Kitchen (April 5, #283). I assume it went smashingly and everyone made their money.

“I hate Top 40 cover bands. Always have. Always will,” I wrote.

Later I received a forwarded e-mail, first sent to my editor. To paraphrase, it said — statements like mine could affect the number of venues opening up to cover bands.

Whoever sent the complaint worked with cover bands. Everyone needs a job, so I’m not going to rag on him/her. It’s a fair response, I suppose. I worked the door at Jazzbones for a year. I’ve met a lot of good people who play in cover bands.

On Saturday, May 5, Bullet in the Head, a Rage Against the Machine cover, er, I mean tribute band will play the South Sound Garage.

That’s one.

Just Dirt will play Q’z Sports Lounge in Graham on Friday and Saturday. Hell’s Belles will play Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday. The Retros will play the Swiss on Friday. On Saturday Kry will play the Swiss. (Coincidentally I just learned Dave’s in Milton is your home for Kry every Thursday night.) And DoctorfunK will play Jazzbones on Friday.

Um… I’m not interested in arguing with the e-mail, but business for cover bands seems pretty solid.

I’m just sayin’.



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