I started my weekend off early last Thursday with the record release show for Darius Koski‘s brand new, debut solo full-length album entitled “Sisu”. Many may be familiar with Koski as longtime guitarist for famed punk band Swingin’ Utters, but what many may not know is that Koski’s musical influences are vast, and that some of the tracks from “Sisu” come from over a decade of songwriting.
Keyan Keihani was first to the stage, and gently prepared the crowd for a night of acoustic and folk. Keihani plays a soft, heartfelt mix of country, folk, and rock and it was a fitting opening act. His 2013 debut release “Eastbound” can be streamed here.
Kemo Sabe was next to warm the crowd – of which they made a quick affair. Stand up bass and ripping strings are the name of the game for this whiskey-filled trio. Fast folk-punk mixed with an energetic performance made for a stark contrast to the opener, and a bit unexpected…in a good way. There’s not much info out there on the band, but believe me I am hard at work scraping the bowels of the internet to get some more details.
I had never heard of Ryan Davidson before, but he’s friends with my friend Eric (of Camputee Press), so he was good in my book. While born and raised in Northern California, his songs definitely have a pronounced Irish/working class feel to them. I truly love the power that one voice and one acoustic guitar can have. Davidson’s emotions ooze out through his chords and his heart can be seen in his bellowing vocals. But it’s not all slow and reflective…just like classic pub-rock, there’s great hooks and tempo changes that propel you off your barstool. You can have a listen to some of Davidson’s tracks here.
The man of the hour, Darius Koski, was in rare form Thursday night. It was true delight to see Koski take the spotlight and shine. This is clearly not ‘punk’, and I’m not sure you can pin just one genre on “Sisu”. While many punk-turned-acoustic musicians may sometimes tend to get locked into the same style, Koski touches on Americana, roots, folk, country, rock, a touch of bluegrass, and more. His performance on Thursday was one man/one guitar, so many of the songs were a little more stripped-down, which was nice to see. “The Sound of Waves” was incredible to see live, to look at the passion in Koski’s eyes, and the awe of fans. But it was not all slow; “Howls from the Gale” and “Show Me The Way” kept the energy level up right til the end.
We are still streaming “Sisu” in its entirety, which you can listen to here.
Have a look at the complete photo gallery of the night’s performances below.
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