- Wednesday, August 1, 2018, 8 p.m.
3615 El Cajon Boulevard,
$13 - $15
“It sounded like they were in a complete other zone from the rest of music.” Neil Young wrote these words in his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream. He wrote them about Givers, a Louisiana indie-pop band. He’d chanced to hear them while channel surfing his TV. “They blew my mind. It was completely original.” Young (Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse) knows about Other Zones. He, after all, perfected the near one-note rock guitar solo in his 1969 song “Cinnamon Girl.”
As the story goes, it’s about a hurricane. When singer Tiffany Lamson and guitarist Taylor Guarisco found their New Orleans apartment under 15 feet of water post-Katrina, they went back home to Lafayette, Louisiana, and they busked. The promise of a last-minute booking prompted the two to phone some musician pals from high school days, and together they more or less jammed their way through the gig. But the story isn’t as thin as it sounds. All had played professionally in Zydeco, Cajun, and jazz bands. The club liked what they heard, booked them again, and Givers was born. Three or so years into the game, Givers released their first of two full-length albums: 2010’s In Light, followed by New Kingdom in 2015.
Over the years, Givers has boiled down to the creative core of Lamson, Guarisco, and bassist Josh LeBlanc. Theirs is Zydeco as realized by kids who grew up listening to their parents’ records: punk, funk, and world music. What likely grabbed Neil Young’s ears was a pop sound that plays out as if the members of the Tom Tom Club and Snarky Puppy and Fela Kuti and Arcade Fire formed a songwriting committee and made records. Add subtle references to Gamble and Huff’s Philly soul sound, and it’s hard to call Givers anything except original.