Funk in the Trunk
Local standouts resurface with Super Lucky Elephant.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
“Want to do ‘Click in the Bang?’ ” Keith Bruecker asks. He’s talking to a couple of his bandmates in the new local group Super Lucky Elephant. “Do we remember it?”
Bruecker, a charismatic local performer who goes by the stage name of Erhman Hall, sits in his dining room/kitchen with fellow singer-songwriter Tony Burciaga and bassist Heath Proskin, who used to play in the slinky alt rock band The Suborbitals and now goes by the name B.E. Undermoose.
“Is it A, E, A?” Proskin asks Bruecker. The trio is working through a handful of songs for their upcoming debut at Monterey Live this Monday. After Bruecker confirms the chords in the song, the session gets derailed with jokes about action star Chuck Norris.
“Chuck Norris doesn’t love Raymond,” Bruecker says.
Over the laughter, Bruecker starts playing a bluesy riff on his acoustic guitar. A few seconds later, Proskin comes in on bass, then Burciaga on acoustic guitar. “Click in the bang is the sound she makes,” Bruecker sings excitedly.
The driving-but-quirky rock number recalls the Pixies and Breucker’s previous band The Pillow Fighters. The tune gets an extra kick when Burciaga chimes in with Bruecker on the chorus. A few minutes into “Click in the Bang,” Bruecker, who is swept up in the song, yells “Aaahhhh” at a climactic moment.
Following “Click in the Bang,” the trio works through three more songs. They nail Burciaga’s “Dad,” a well-constructed pop song with a soaring chorus. They also plow through Bruecker’s “Put Yourself Back Together,” a sunny sounding mid-tempo song sprinkled with intriguing lyrics like “I know there is a spirit living inside my head.”
Most interesting is “Men of the North,” a work in progress that finds Burciaga and Bruecker singing together in the beginning. The music starts still and reflective and gathers strength as Burciaga sings in a falsetto over Bruecker’s furious strumming. It sounds like it has the potential to be an epic number.
At their debut show, Super Lucky Elephant will be fleshed out with saxophone player Vito Triglia of local bands Bolivar Vive! and The Simmer Downs, along with saxophone player Ben Herod and drummer Gordon Stokes (who goes by Harden Stiffman). Like Proskin, Herod and Stokes are also Suborbitals alumni.
Super Lucky Elephant formed just a month and a half ago, though Bruecker’s relationship with The Suborbitals stretches back farther. Over a year and a half ago, Bruecker frequently jumped up onstage and performed with the band at their live shows. He also worked with the former group on their aborted attempt at a second album. Bruecker decided to invite Triglia, who he had always wanted to work with, and Burciaga to play in the new project. Burciaga had played in The Pillow Fighters near the end of their run and moved with Bruecker to Seattle in 2006, when the two tried to break into the city’s music scene.
Currently, Super Lucky Elephant only have six songs, all of which they will debut Monday night. Bruecker says that people who know him from The Pillow Fighters and from his solo shows as Erhman Hall should expect something different from Super Lucky Elephant.
“I would say it’s more full,” he nods. “It’s a bigger sound than I’m accustomed to using. It’s more polished. It’s more dynamic, too.”
SUPER LUCKY ELEPHANT, ERHMAN HALL AND CHRISTINA BAILEY AND HER BIG AMERICAN FAMILY BAND play 8:30pm Monday, May 19, at Monterey Live, 414 Alvarado St., Monterey. $5. 375-LIVE.