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Last Night

Last Night: Avi (and the Bunnyman) Get Pro @ the Echo

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Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Review by Daiana Feuer.

Back in the distant mists of last April, the Echo held its first ever all-ages residency for Avi Buffalo (then and now supported by his mate Bobb Bruno). Since then, it seems 18-year-old Avi Zahner-Isenberg and his bandmates skipped much of the learning curve and went straight pro. The band's return performance last night at the Eastside venue had a clean, platinum-record tightness--down to the closing grungy breakdown's polite precision.

click to enlarge Avi Buffalo - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • Avi Buffalo

The show began on a far more eccentric note, though, as children hid behind columns and elbows watching a bunny play with sticks on stage. Clad in a white unitard topped by a giant balloon bunny head, Bobb Bruno appeared to be playing a live soundtrack to an RPG video game. A one man band on drum pad, he builds epic ride-and-snare rhythms and synthesized ballads note by note.

click to enlarge Bobb Bruno in his daytime habitat - BOBB BRUNO VIA MYSPACE
  • Bobb Bruno via MySpace
  • Bobb Bruno in his daytime habitat
To many, Bobb Bruno is a local legend. He produces modern, edgy girl-groups like Pocahaunted and Miko Miko, and has written or produced songs for over fifty albums. Lately people are also picking up on his low-fi garage pop band Best Coast with Bethany Cosentino. But I bet they'd never guess the demure long-hair and glasses-wearing bassist from that band likes to dress up as a rabbit when he's reinventing trip-hop.

Last night, he closed his instrumental set with an ethereal mix of a diva R&B classic, isolating the vocal's gospel power because "...this is what it's all about. This is the best stuff," he said later, handing me a list of his top five R&B songs: Ciara "Ohh," Keisha Cole "Love," Destiny's Child "Jumpin Jumpin," Mary J. Blige "Just Fine," and Aaliyah "Try Again."

click to enlarge The pain of being in a band with your heartbreaking ex - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • The pain of being in a band with your heartbreaking ex

"Is there nothing left for me?" Avi asks in "What's In It For?"--his voice shooting up to the same register as the Strange Boys' Ryan Sambol. There's plenty for him, actually, having signed with legendary Seattle label Sub Pop at an age memorable to most boys for little more than being able to vote and legally buy porn and cigarettes.

He and Rebecca Coleman split melody duties between guitar and keys, as Sheridan Riley (drums) and Arin Fazio (bass) conjure up detailed rhythms.

click to enlarge Rebecca Coleman - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • Rebecca Coleman

The band's advanced playing skills fold around succinct romantic lines. "Your lips are like little pieces of bacon," Avi sings, sharing his love story with keyboardist Rebecca, who broke his heart once or twice. Nostalgia set in, realizing that the existential questions in these love songs are only renewed after too much experience at age 26.

click to enlarge "Am I standing next to a de-rabbit-fied Bobb Bruno?" she wondered - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • "Am I standing next to a de-rabbit-fied Bobb Bruno?" she wondered

click to enlarge "Don't be frightened. We mean no harm. Just be sure not to ask anything that would paint us in a negative light." - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • "Don't be frightened. We mean no harm. Just be sure not to ask anything that would paint us in a negative light."

click to enlarge Was your bike stolen last night near the Echo? Leave us a comment right below. We might know a guy. - ANNA WEBBER
  • Anna Webber
  • Was your bike stolen last night near the Echo? Leave us a comment right below. We might know a guy.

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