Back in 2001, California was in the middle of an energy crisis and was suffering several large-scale blackouts unlike the state had ever seen. As unfortunate as they were, they did inspire what would become an annual tradition in the south bay—the Brownout show.
The first show was at the Fishbowl in Sunnyvale in April 2001 and featured Xiu Xiu (who were a five-piece band at the time) and the Velvet Teen. Both bands played all-acoustic sets—a sort of tip of the hat to energy problem. Even now, after the dust has settled on the energy woes, the Brownout shows continue on, with the 11th installment on January 12 featuring Record Winter, Mike Huguenor, Colorscout and more.
As the shows evolved, they became more of a mixture of acoustic and electric indie rock bands. This year features headliners (the very not-acoustic) Record Winter, who have a heavy folk influence layered with lot of processed guitars and keyboards, creating a lush wall of sound that is fluid with dynamics and creative tones.
Also sharing the bill is Mike Huguenor from punk bands Shinobu and Hard Girls, who’s solo EP Bardamu is a self-conscious alt rock gem. Colorscout, a rock band that mixes folk, pop and soul and Cartoon Bar Fight will also perform with Mathew Joseph Payne (from chiptune band the Glowing Stars), Casey Jones (A whimsical, heartfelt folk singer) and James Scott (who comes from Olympia, Wash., and is promoting his new offbeat folk-rock album “Kind”) rounding out the bill.
The only question is: who is going to strip down and play an all-acoustic set, and who’ll just play a standard plugged-in full band set? Considering the threat of a rolling blackout is next to none, we’re betting on the latter.
Record Winter, Mike Huguenor, Colorscout and others
Homestead Lanes, Cupertino
Sat, 8pm, $8