Pure Bathing Culture @ the 20th Century Theatre (6/11/13)

Last night I did something I’d never done before in all my years of concert-going.  I purchased a ticket just to see an opening act.  I left before the headliner even took the stage.  And I walked 3 miles to do it.

pure bathing culture marquee

(pure bathing culture marquee)

The opening act in question was a Portland-based band called Pure Bathing Culture.  I found out about them last month when their Daytrotter Session was released.  I don’t bother with most of the site’s sessions, but I just had to find out what a band called Pure Bathing Culture sounded like.  I was curious.

It turns out that a band called Pure Bathing Culture sounds a bit like the first ten seconds of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” but without the repeated get up, wake up whispers.  Do you remember that famous Roland synthesizer sound that opens Gaye’s song?  Well, most of the Pure Bathing Culture songs begin with a similar sound.  The comparison quickly falls apart when the inherent creepiness of “Sexual Healing” disappears and is replaced by dreamy female vocals that sort of make me feel like I’m floating in the breeze high above the 80s.  Probably over a lake or ocean.  Maybe in a bubble I can control with my mind.  I don’t know.

No matter how poorly I’m able to describe the band’s sound, what’s important here is that I became fascinated with the songs featured in their Daytrotter Session.  In a mere three weeks I’ve already listened to that session more than any of the other 200+ sessions I’ve downloaded from the site over the years.

I dug around the internet and investigated the band.  I learned they were coming to Cincinnati to open for Father John Misty.  I also gathered all the Pure Bathing Culture songs I could find.  I purchased a digital copy of their self-titled EP, downloaded their free song, and even lowered myself so far as to watch music on YouTube.  Altogether, I found eight songs.

Pure Bathing Culture played six of those eight songs at the concert last night.  They also played two songs I’d never heard before.  I assume those two songs will be on Moon Tides, the band’s debut LP coming out later this summer.  The first new song was particularly catchy and I look forward to hearing the studio version when it gets officially released.  Here’s the setlist (the songs in quotation marks are the ones I didn’t know):

Setlist: Lucky One/Pendulum/Golden Girl/Dream the Dare (“don’t you know I think about it all the time”)/Gainesville/Silver Shore’s Lake/Seven to One (“seven to one”)/Ivory Coast

After the set, I went out to the merch table to purchase a physical copy of the EP I’d already downloaded from Amazon.  There was a older, friendly-looking lady sitting at the table.  I tried to buy the record from her, but it turned out she wasn’t actually selling the Pure Bathing Culture merchandise; she was just borrowing their chair while she waited around to meet Father John Misty.  I wandered a bit.

The Pure Bathing Culture singer eventually showed up and took over the merch table.  I purchased the record from her and then headed home.  As I was making my way around the corner of the venue, I saw Father John Misty and his band hanging around outside waiting to go on.  They looked like rock stars.  I felt bad leaving before they took the stage, but I’d enjoyed Pure Bathing Culture’s set so much that I just wanted to get home and think about it.  I didn’t want the bubbly, floating sensation I’d felt during the entire show to disappear in an onslaught of electric guitars.  I wanted to hang on to it for as long as I could.

The Pure Bathing Culture high stuck with me until I hit the railroad tracks on the walk home.  Then my knees started to hurt and it was clear I was no longer floating around in a bubble.  Oh well.

Here are a couple more concert-related images:

pure bathing culture record

(i bought this from the singer)

pure bathing culture setlist

(my pen ran out of ink after the second song)

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23 Responses to Pure Bathing Culture @ the 20th Century Theatre (6/11/13)

  1. crankypants says:

    I haven’t heard PBC but I like what I’ve heard from FJM/J. Tillman/whatever other names he uses. but I don’t know that I will go see them next week when they’re here (I think it’s the 18th. Maybe it was the 8th)

    • M-----l says:

      Pure Bathing Culture doesn’t sound anything like the Father John Misty or J. Tillman songs I’ve heard. I think they’re touring together because J. Tillman’s brother (who records as Pearly Gate Music) is playing guitar in Pure Bathing Culture. It’s a family affair, I guess.

      I saw a bit of a J. Tillman show a couple years ago. It was solo acoustic and kind of dull. I hear he’s supposed to be impressive as Father John Misty, though. Showmanship, sexiness, fancypants backdrop, etc.

  2. homebody says:

    My favorite line of this review: “floating in the breeze high above the 80s”
    (Hey, when did you get the Baka-Poi comp?)

  3. Lauri says:

    I enjoyed reading! I have had that wonderful floaty feeling after a few concerts. The one I remember most fondly wasn’t a band, however, but the Cambridge Student Symphony Orchestra in London. I walked out of there wishing I could expire on the spot because I didn’t ever want to “come down” again.
    They played Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

    • M-----l says:

      Perhaps we’re describing the same sensation or maybe we’re talking about two different feelings entirely. Either way, it’s always special when you’re touched by a live performance in a positive way. I’m not sure I’d get that from Beethoven, though. I’m more of a Bach man myself.

      I didn’t know you’d been to London. I didn’t figure you for an international traveler. I just assumed you had to stay at home to take care of the menagerie.

  4. I do like it when I see members of a band selling CDs and t-shirts at a table in the lobby. It’s a great way to score autographs and talk with the artists, even if it’s just a fangirl “Hey I really like your music!” That’s how I got to meet Darren Hanlon and tell him that cranky was waiting for him to come back to Philadelphia. (Darren Hanlon selling his own CDs at a card table seems pretty freaky in itself. I feel like the guy should be playing the Kings’ arena instead.)

    Father John Misty is going to play the Fillmore in San Francisco on the 21st. I don’t know if I’m going to see him either, because the Fillmore is such a bitch to find parking nearby.

    • M-----l says:

      Darren Hanlon is definitely my favorite merch table musician. There’s something about him that makes me want to buy one of everything he has…even if I already own it. I also want to invite him home with me and take him swimming, but that’s another story entirely.

      The worst merch table musician I’ve ever met was Robyn Hitchcock. He scowled at me as he signed the $50 box set I’d just purchased. I think $50 should at least get me an approving nod.

  5. Paul Thie says:

    the name Pure Bathing Culture makes me think of WET
    is there any connection to that 80’s magazine?

    • M-----l says:

      I thought you went blue on me there for a minute, but it turns out there really was a legit magazine called WET. It looks strange and interesting. I hope I find this at Half Price Books some day. I think I’d like to flip through it.

      I’m not sure how Pure Bathing Culture came up with “Pure Bathing Culture”. I doubt any of the band members were even born yet when the magazine was in publication. Maybe they found some old copies in a retro store.

    • Hey, I used to be a subscriber until the staff suddenly disappeared and took my renewal check with them. :p I had a stack of old issues hidden in a closet, until one day my oldest daughter, who was about 14 months old at the time, found them and ripped them to shreds. She always was a ruthless critic and remains so to this day.

  6. silverchimes says:

    Thank you for this post! I listened to a couple of online songs from Pure Bathing Culture and loved them. I bought their EP last night. They should give you a bonus ticket to their next show for promoting them so well.

    I also bought “Strange Pleasures” by Still Corners which is also a very nice, dreamy kind of album. Check them out if you get a chance.

    • M-----l says:

      It’s cool to hear that this post was directly responsible for breaking Pure Bathing Culture into the lucrative Thai market. I feel like such an important trendsetter now. Most of all, though, I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the music.

      I just found out about Still Corners a couple weeks ago. All I have so far is their Daytrotter Session and a digital copy of their Don’t Fall in Love EP. The session didn’t do much for me, but I like the two songs on the EP.

  7. Pingback: The Best Things I Heard All Year | Outgoing Signals

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