CASPER, Wyo. — Brandon Schulte may be a familiar face and name to Casper music lovers.
He’s the general manager at downtown’s “Sonic Rainbow.” For over 20 years, he helped organize local concerts at the record store, but that came to an end in 2018.
But Schulte has found a new place to host both local and touring bands in recent months. That began, in fact, with a show featuring his former band “Juice Falcon” back on May 18.
Article continues below...
Since then, a number of Casper and out of town bands have rocked the downtown coffee shop “Bourgeois Pig,” giving fans of all ages a chance to hear live music and boogie down.
Schulte says a handful of bands have played at the coffee shop since he partnered up with Bourgeois Pig owner Josh Tinnell to utilize the space.
“Let’s see, we’ve had the Juice Falcon show, Pine Hill Haints, Tongue Party, these guys,” he said after Wednesday’s performances. “I think that at least probably five maybe six, five to seven [bands].”
Schulte says he likes the idea of pairing Casper area bands with groups on tour to expose people to a wide range of musical styles.
“I usually wait until a touring band hits me up, you know, and and as soon as I started doing that regularly, it doesn’t take any time at all for word to get out on the regional circuit that here is a place that is in this town,” he explained. “I found myself pretty quickly being solicited quite regularly with bands and have been able to help out some fantastic bands over this year that are so totally different in their sound and in their style.”
“That’s been a really cool thing to me. Part of the idea is to kind of pair of the traveling band with a local band. Local bands tend to be where the crowd comes from, you know, everybody comes to see their friend. But they tend to come out here knowing they’re going to see their buds’ band and they’re going to see this way sweet touring band.”
On Wednesday, that meant crowds first got to enjoy the heavier tunes of the local Advise Against before getting into Lot Lizard’s sonic space.
Advise Against singer Blake Kight describes their sound as “like old-school kind of Florida death metal but [we] kind of put a different spin on it like a sludge metal kind of deal.”
His gut-filled vocals got the crowd energized as they danced around the floor space of the coffee shop. Kight, who has another band called Beastwood, cites Roy Oribson’s vocals as an influence.
Other band members include:
- Wayne Trank – Bass
- Dean Bramson – Drums
- Gene McCrimmon – Lead guitar
- Richard Lemm – Rhythm guitar
“We try to write a Florida death metal song and then I Try to put my spin on top of it to give it a flare,” Kight says of the song creating process. “This song tonight, our bass player Wayne just had a riff that he’d been jamming for a minute.”
“He’s like, ‘Hey dudes check this out’ and we’re like, ‘Okay that’s rad.’ And then Gene learned it real quick and showed it to Richard, then we kind of just meld it together. And then once we have the song like completely done, then I go back through and I kind of like freestyle over the melody that we came up together.”
Kight says it took him time to learn how to sing properly so that he didn’t damage his voice.
“When I first started singing, I got off of every show and I was just hoarse,” he says. Over the years like I’ve learned a lot of different techniques. If you can feel it in your throat, you’re not doing it right.”
“I’ve always wanted to be [able to sing] highs and lows and have a range because any band that I listen to [has that].”
Kight is quite active on stage, throwing his body around and interacting directly with the audience.
“That’s that’s how you get people to come back,” he says.
Advise Against released an EP earlier this year featuring six new songs. Kight says that helping support touring bands is important to him.
“We’re just a bunch of broke musicians and that spend a lot of time with tons of other bands,” he says. “I try to help any touring bands coming through.”
Kight runs sound at Staggers in Mills and helps organize shows around town himself. He says his own experience touring makes him understand the challenge that brings.
“The hardest thing is getting the group to figure out how we’re going to do it,” he says. “Are we renting a van? Are we going to buy a van? Do we need a trailer?”
That’s something that “Lot Lizard” certainly understands. The tire on their van gave them some issues while they were headed to Casper from Rapid City.
Perhaps their name fits that experience too well.
While they were working on a song, bass guitar player Pat Nelson said he asked his band mates to “envision a lot lizard on some highway, like stranded and out of fuel. ‘Did you say lot lizard? What’s a lot lizard?’ And then it was kind of that decided that that should be the band name.”
They’ve been touring to places like Des Moines and Rapid City and held an album launch party back home in Souix Falls. Their first album is self-titled and the artwork on the vinyl cover features work from Los Angeles artist Matthew Craven.
Lindy Wise does vocals for Lot Lizard and describes there sound as having “this psychedelic kind of shoegaze edge to it. There’s a little bit of like early post-hardcore vibe.”
Drummer Brogan Costa describes how their songs come to fruition.
“I think it’s kind of these guys have a like a bass riff that I kind of work off of and we just kind of hash it out, talk about it figure out a vibe for the song,” he says.
Nelson says that the songs usually have a “deliberate intention from the get-go and then it always transforms rapidly once everybody throws their sauce on the on the mix.”
The four members of the band, rounded out by Ben Swank on guitar, had been listening to each other’s previous projects before getting started together.
“We all played in other bands around town for years and none of us ever played together before,” Costa explains. “But we all saw each other’s bands and I was a fan of everyone’s and I thought they all had cool styles and asked all of them to start a band.”
While music is obviously about sound, Lot Lizard says that visuals are also important and they are happy to have worked out an agreement with Craven to use some of his artwork.
“I think like the music’s the main thing but like the way people see it is really important,” Wise says. “So whether that’s lights or just the way you act.”
Costa chimes in, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed in our artwork, but there’s a splash of pink in all of the artwork and we started to run with like a pink kind of vibe. When it comes to light we create that with darkly lit pink heat lights.”
“Like bubble gum,” Swank adds.
They encourage people to get out and see not only live music, but to get involved in any community events.
“Go seek new food, go seek new experiences because it’s just healthy,” Nelson says. “It’s like helpful for the music, world and community.”
Schulte says booking bands with different styles can be more fun than a show that doesn’t offer such variety.
“To me, I would rather have two good bands, even if their way different than one awesome band,” he says. “I think that’s a kind of a product of growing up here in Wyoming back in the ’90s.”
“You’d go see a punk show, especially if it was a locals only, it’d be like a punk rock band a Ska band and maybe an industrial band. It would be so broad and it was so cool to get to see different people.”
Schulte says that’s something that’s happening again with the shows at the Bourgeois Pig.
“You know, like the local band tonight was a metal band, so a lot of the crowd was a metal crowd that was at over here,” he says. “It’s cool to see a metal crowd see a rad rock band [as well].”
“Most people stayed, most people were engaged and were really digging in on it. I think it helps audiences kind of broaden your listening horizons just a little bit.”
Schulte tries to buy a few albums from bands that are coming through that he’ll carry over at Sonic Rainbow.
He says it is important to him that the shows are open to people of all ages and he works to ensure the environment is safe.
“I do everything possible to try to book shows all ages and make sure I can bring my three-year-old daughter down here to check some of these bands out and stuff like that,” Schulte says. “It was heartbreaking for a couple of years. Like, this crew of high school kids just so badly wanted to come see music.”
“But when all of the shows were happening at bars, they couldn’t go.”
Both little kids and older adults have been coming to some of the shows at The Bourgeois Pig.
“Nobody causes problems,” Schulte says. “Everybody has a good time. It’s so great. “And that’s another thing that’s so awesome about here is that the venue is centrally located. It’s right here in downtown.”
“It’s clean. It’s safe. It’s got awesome, you know bathrooms and you know, such a cool collection of posters up on the walls. It’s just got a great feel to it and it’s a place where anybody can come and enjoy and keep the focus on the music that’s happening over here.”
Schulte says Juice Falcon’s last show was a blast.
“I mean we were really looking like we might not get to play a final show,: he say. “There was no venue that we could go to that was really willing to do it. Josh and his crew over here at the venue are so awesome.”
“The people that come are so great and hospitable. They, you know, leave tips and stuff like that, actually make donations to help the band out. That is so cool to me.”
Schulte says that more could be coming soon from himself and fellow member of Juice Falcon Nick Ridgeway.
“We are working on on our new musical venture and hoping to kick off 2020 in a big way with a new project,” he says. “It has been a really weird year for me because we were in Juice Falcon for over 12 years. So when suddenly you don’t do the thing that you’ve been doing for that long, it’s kind of strange but it was kind of nice to free up a little bit of time.”
“The new project is just freaky weirdo stuff just like Juice Falcon with a little bit of stylistic differences too. It’s kind of given me a little bit more flexibility to try some different things with my songwriting and with my riff playing but ultimately I play guitar the way I play guitar and Nick sings the way he sings so if anybody was ever a fan of juice Falcon, I would certainly hope they will be into the next thing.”