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Herbivore/Carnivore takes a bite out of Substation

Cashing In Karma at Herbivore/Carnivore (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

Substation, nestled into the divide between Fremont and Ballard, remains a delightfully odd venue that caters toward the weird. It’s the sort of place where scads of up and coming bands you haven’t heard of play, yet it also scores little coups, like when the 80’s pop superstar Tiffany played there. Early June found us heading in the door for a little fest called Herbivore/Carnivore, put on by music lover extraordinaire Michael Nannie and featuring bands with wide-ranging styles. Color us intrigued.

The Ugly Cousin Brothers got things started in the main room, and they professed their love of Cascadia with a clutch of folksy, protest-y songs that sounded good in the warm spring evening. Soon after, the back room began to emit a pounding noise, which turned out to be the impassioned rock stylings of four teens calling themselves Blue Avenue. Princess has a strong set of pipes, and along with Anna’s thudding bass and Sam’s lead guitar, the young band was set to impress.

Damn The Flood is a band that proves that metal plus hair is definitely still a thing, though these four dudes lean more toward hardcore than the Sunset Strip. The hair was in full force, though, along with searing high-neck guitar solos. Those in attendance howled their approval at the spectacle.

In the back room, the only non-Seattle band on the bill began to play. Portland’s Pulp Romance was recently in town to play the Victory Lounge, and they had a much larger audience at that venue. It was a shame that so few folks ambled into their set as they put on the best performance of the bands on stage that night. Their sound has a southern sort of feel, a little swampy and a lot rock, and they didn’t pull any punches just because of the low turnout. They joked and played their hearts out, and it was great. Kudos to them for keeping it professional.

The best way to explain Cashing In Karma to you is to have you watch their video for “Liar, Liar:”

Now that you get their quirkiness that’s mixed with a pop sensibility, you’ll understand the short shorts of singer/guitarist Jonny Barrett and Cheap Trick-styled hat atop the head of bassist David Bugg. Their set closed out Herbivore/Carnivore in a groovy way, with Bugg even leaving the stage to groove out with his bass with folks on the floor. Thanks, Herbivore/Carnivore, for an evening filled with rock from all corners.

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.