- Monday, July 16, 2018, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
Lilyhammer was a Netflix series about an American mobster who chose Norway when he entered the witness protection program. There, the mobster (played by Steven Van Zandt of The Sopranos and E Street Band fame) bought a nightclub where he booked loud, aggressive, original indie rock bands. And In The Whale looks acts and sounds just like those bands. They’d have fit right in. It comes as no surprise that Van Zandt, a producer and a radio host, was also the music supervisor for Lilyhammer. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s got exquisite taste.
In the Whale also sounds like so much more than just one guitar and one drummer. They blast huge, gritty garage rock, and the songwriting pounds out unselfconscious quotes of all the hooks from every cool hard rock song you’ve ever heard. In The Whale is a sonic boom that is night-sweaty, murky, and wild in a way that calls to mind early Black Sabbath. Maybe guitarist Nate Valdez’ day job dictates Whale’s lyric gloom. He’s an undertaker. Their first road bus was Valdez’s grandpa’s mortuary van. That’s where Valdez learned his craft, working in his family’s funeral home.
In the Whale was on no one’s radar when Lilyhammer was in production. The band is only seven years old. Valdez was a solo act while in a master’s degree program at the U of Northern Colorado. He found a drummer (Eric Riley) to fill in the gaps. They moved to Denver, made an album, and broke out of Rocky Mountain obscurity. I’ve not heard a band in years that sounds so alive.