Back to Music

Road warriors

The unfuckwithable Night Beats release a self-titled debut LP

NIGHT BEATS: Living the dream. Photo courtesy of MySpace

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

I saw Night Beats throwing bones in a shot bar in Austin, Texas. I saw Night Beats drinking fresh-pressed apple juice in the backyard of a mobile home on Tacoma's South Side on the Fourth of July, just after finishing my first interview as a music writer for the Weekly Volcano. I saw the lead singer of Night Beats light up a cigarette onstage during the last leg of a set-closing jam, and saw no one tell him to stop.

Night Beats are unfuckwithable road warriors, psych-rock workhorses, a meeting point between Tacoma-centricity and the great scary beyond where other local bands fear to roam. They revere psychedelia and early rock ‘n' roll, and aim in some way to pay homage to those sounds, while also forging a vision of their own. Often, the band's sound is huge and their guitars slash and burn in furious acid-rock waves. This has always been clear from the live set, but with the band's debut LP - officially released June 28 - the sound has finally been captured on vinyl. The band will celebrate the release of Night Beats on Friday, July 1, at the New Frontier.

Formed in 2009, Night Beats haven't had much in the way of stasis since Texas natives Danny Lee Blackwell and Tracy Traeger recruited Tacoma's Tarek Wegner after seeing him perform at some Drug Purse shows. It's been all restless momentum since then, as Night Beats quickly became fixtures in these parts, and soon began extensive, seemingly nonstop touring.

Appropriately, I spoke with Wegner and Traeger in Night Beats' orange-fur-lined tour van after a performance at the Urban Arts Festival.

"(Shortly after forming the band, Blackwell) booked a tour, and we were like, ‘Wait, what?" says Wegner. "We toured to South By Southwest, and a label ended up picking up our 7-inch and making more copies. ... We came to the conclusion, from talking to other bands and seeing shows, that it was understood that's the only way to make money."

"Who wants to fucking sit around all day?" says Traeger.

"It seems like, if you make music your job, then that's what it is," says Wegner.

It should be a serviceable lesson to other local bands to see the success that Night Beats have had so far, just by virtue of putting themselves out there so frequently. They've tackled the idea of being a band head-on and enthusiastically - a mindset that led directly to their self-titled debut LP being released on the Chicago-based garage-psych label, Trouble in Mind Records (also home to well-regarded acts like Ty Segall and the Fresh & Onlys). Recently Night Beats opened for the Black Lips in Portland, and they will be touring with them this summer.

Of course, touring wouldn't mean much if Night Beats didn't bring it with thunderous live performances. It was a little shocking the first time I saw the band live. What with psych-rock and garage rock being so ubiquitous in Washington, the bands can sometimes blur together. But from the first distorted chord, Night Beats revealed the kind of lively, old-soul vibe that so many bands aim for, but rarely land upon.

One of the joys of Night Beats is they present a little window into our pocket of the world.

"If people come on tour to Tacoma," says Wegner, "they'll hear local bands that have never toured out of here, that they've never heard of otherwise. That's how it is in every city or small town or whatever. There's always a cool music scene. ... That's the coolest thing (about touring) is finding music that won't be found elsewhere, and that will someday disappear."

With any luck, the vinyl on which Night Beats are now engraved should supply them with a little more permanence.

Night Beats

with the Fucking Eagles, Basemint and The Cigarette Bums
Friday, July 1, 9 p.m., cover TBA
The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St, Tacoma

Read next close


Work boots

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search