Most of Salt Lake City’s bike-riding, yoga-practicing, NPR-listening youngsters are quick to claim cultural enlightenment. Truth is, however, the bulk of kids who attend rock shows recoil when they see a violin onstage. The last instrument most beer-swilling bar patrons want to hear is a violin unless they have season tickets to the symphony or could double as extras for Saturday Night Live’s “Goth Talk” sketch.
Loom violinist/vocalist Kim Pack is well aware of audience members’ tendency to stereotype the band’s music when they see the bowed strings. They expect to hear something slow, melancholic and down tempo. “A lot of people don’t know what to expect,” she says. “Some say ‘Oh, this is going to suck,’ but once they see our set, they usually change their minds.”
Audiences across the country—from Washington to Georgia—opened their ears and embraced Loom, violin and all. Perhaps their success owes something to pop-punk act Yellowcard whose own strings help spice up an otherwise bland sound. Then there’s Salt Lake City’s Subrosa whose violin use is more dark and gothic. Perhaps a trend is starting?
Could happen. Consider Loom’s quick growth. Though barely a year old, the local quintet has released an EP, signed to locally owned and operated Exigent Records and toured extensively. Their sound is a hard, tense tangle of explosive, intricate instrumentation and sweeping harmonies. It is, in short, the antithesis of down tempo.
The members of Loom share a house on Paxton Avenue—formerly occupied by fellow local rockers Paxtin—where they live, practice and play shows. Their invigorating live performances, replete with a light show orchestrated by vocalist Josh Devenport, leave witnesses in a state of mild euphoria. Just ask the kids from a sparsely populated, seldom traversed town in North Dakota who squeezed into a musty barn to catch Loom on tour. They came, they rocked, they spent their last pennies on merchandise—probably hoped to get inside the rockers’ heads. But can outsiders really comprehend the nuts and bolts of Loom?
“If you want to discuss our taste in music, you would really have to write five different articles,” drummer/vocalist Jarom Bischoff deadpans. Guitarist/vocalist Mike Cundick (aka Dork) believes disparate influences are part of the driving force behind Loom’s musical vitality. “All five of us have different backgrounds. Punk, jazz, hardcore, classical … there’s a little bit of everything,” he says.
Pack points to a small collective of bands that each of Loom’s members cite as influences, including local favorites Form of Rocket. However, judging from the playful jabs exchanged by Bischoff and bassist John Finnegan—who says Bischoff is never shy about voicing his distaste for things he doesn’t like—disagreement is key to Loom’s creative fire.
And, despite some contentious practice sessions, Bischoff says that Loom is the band he and his bandmates have always wanted:
“We’re currently writing our first full-length album, and we’re hoping to do a split 10-inch with [Exigent-signed, Portland-based] Prize Country. Our goal is to tour six months out of the year. Based on the hospitality we received last time around, we can definitely make it happen.”
Finnegan notes that Loom’s first tour was punctuated by all sorts of rock & roll antics. Loom members skinny-dipped in the Atlantic Ocean at midnight, inadvertently sleep-walked into a bed populated by a married couple, and—in a late night drunken stupor—mistook a DVD player and a set of pristine white-carpeted stairs for a urinal.
Pack explains that Loom’s new tour motto involves refraining from indiscriminately pissing beyond the toilet, so potential hosts across the country can rest assured their electronic devices and hall carpets are safe. If mayhem ensues, Pack can always apologize profusely and soothe ruffled strangers with her unassuming violin.
LOOM @ One Mind, 216 W. Paxton Avenue (1170 South), Thursday Oct. 11, 7 p.m. MySpace.com/Loom801