Asterhouse, Crystal Desert, The Pro-nouns, and Actionesse
The High Dive, Seattle, WA

Spanning the gamut of rock from psychedelia to party punk, not one of the bands at the Four Corners: A Split EP release played a set that was anything less than explosive. At The High Dive for the final round of their local dates supporting this collaborative record, the bands each put out the kind of unstoppable energy you can’t tear your eyes – or ears – away from.

The night kicked off with Actionesse, a Seattle based five-piece that sounds like a surf rock marching band. While one-man horn section Joel Kenworthy brought the heat, swapping out trombone for flute in the blink of an eye, guitarist Ian Reed reveled away at the mic, his fierce vocals slaying the crowd. Bassist Paddy Moran led everyone through some arm stretching, got playful with drummer Jimmy Colven, and nearly knocked over Phil Kaltenbach’s keyboard. All before jumping off the stage with Kenworthy to scream it out with the crowd at the end.

Then The Pro-nouns broke out a megaphone on a mic stand and got down to the business of millennial alt-rock with massive melodies that swayed genres like nobody’s business. Killing it on shared guitar and vocal duties, Ryan Brooks was a swooning, moody, hair-tossing badass, while Banner Driskell just let it all loose. Bassist Jon Garber and drummer Nelly Howard may have stayed relatively quiet vocally, but man, they held down serious beats. Whether it was a reggae bottom line, the previously mentioned megaphone, or a crazy-good rock cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony,” they delivered on all fronts.

The post-punk madness of Crystal Desert – a tight three-piece out of Everett, WA – was a buzzy third course. Vocalist Ryan Alexander was show-stopping, the band’s sound was a bit dejected and dark, with a shimmering layer of psychedelic fuzz. Both Alexander and bassist Christian Smith were like manic zombies, cradling their guitars to the monitors, crafting elaborate waves of pungent atmosphere. Drummer Josh Ihler took off his shirt just a song or two in, destroying the catchy, downer tracks with ease.

Closing out the night, Asterhouse played up their propulsive rock with reckless abandon. Lead vocalist/drummer John Thornburg was a rock-god incarnate, complete with an easy smile and magnetic presence. From behind his bright orange kit, he lead the group through an incendiary set of spacey rock. Guitarist Russ Thornburg was a spitfire of shredding guitar and hair-tossing, and bassist Julio Posada kept the bottom line thrumming.

The night ended with all of the bands joining Asterhouse on stage for a maniacal cover of “Twist and Shout,” leaving all the joy on stage. It was magical to see these four great local bands working on a completely cooperative project, and the packed crowd was fully supportive.

Check out the full album here.

Review and photos by Stephanie Dore

Asterhouse, Crystal Desert, The Pro-nouns, and Actionesse