Stag, Drolls, Subjectives

Clock-Out Lounge Presents




Fri · June 29, 2018

9:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

Stag is the kind of band that formed for exactly the right reason: because the five members found joy in making music together. If that seems simple, and old-fashioned in a way, there was once a time when that was the only reason music was ever crafted by any rock band. It was that reason that inspired bands in dank clubs of Liverpool, beery barrooms of Cleveland, or in the tiny taverns that made up the Seattle music scene back in the day.
On their new EP, Seattle-based Stag accomplish the hard task of making music seem entirely joyful and easy. Even when the lyrics are sharply dark, as on the title track here “Paper Crown,” the guitars and vocals soar with an exhuburance that evokes the “High Numbers”-era Who, or the best seventies power pop.
The five members of Stag are seasoned musicians, who have spent years on the Seattle club scene, but managed to become veterans without letting cynicism overtake them. All are also accomplished in their day jobs, which might be one reason Stag works so well — these are men playing together because they enjoy it, and for little other reason.
Singer Steve Mack was also the lead vocalist of That Petrol Emotion, a highly praised UK band from the eighties. Ben London played guitar and sang with Alcohol Funnycar, Sanford Arms, and Burning Rivers, and does the same in Stag, in addition to writing all the songs. Bass player Pete Everett broke his teeth with Tuffy, before joining Seattle’s the Mellors. Drummer Rob Dent has played with Jackie on Acid, Kingsly, and Sanford Arms. Guitarist Lincoln Barr is the singer/songwriter behind Red Jacket Mine.
The Paper Crown EP was produced by the legendary Jack Endino, best known for his work with Nirvana and Soundgarden. Endino also did Stag’s first EP, and the pairing seems appropriate: A producer wise enough to not get in the way of a band having a great time, and a band that plays with the kind of instrument separation that any producer loves to record. Endino’s production here is as clean and bright as anything in his storied catalog.
The Paper Crown EP follows on the heels of the successful debut from Stag, an EP titled These Times Are Made For All of Us, which came out in November 2010. The title track of that release was selected as the KEXP “Song of the Day” in December 2010. But if “These Times Are Made For All of Us” was a kind of anti-political-yet-political song, the four tunes on the Paper Crown EP seem more internal in theme. Stag played songs from both their releases at showcase this spring at SXSW.
Stag has only been together for less than a year, but as a group that formed as a literal “stag,” a boy’s night out, their music reflects the untarnished buoyancy of the best hook-filled American pop-rock. It is a sound that is at once reflective of shared influences, but also one that adds to the long-standing form with well-crafted lyrics, and evocative melodies. It is music that makes an experienced listener feel young, or a young listener feel understood, which is exactly why it seems so true to the essence of what great rock ‘n’ roll is always about — possibility and yearning.
— Charles R. Cross —
Venue Information:
Clock-Out Lounge
4864 Beacon Ave SO
Seattle, WA, 98108