Quasi at the El Rey Theater on October 30, 2007
Having missed both their San Diego and Costa Mesa headlining shows, I was determined to catch Quasi (pronounced “Kwah-zee”) open for Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at the El Rey. After the customary forensic search for traces of gum by security, I walked toward the front of the stage and along the way, spotted fans sporting Sleater-Kinney T-shirts. And why not, Janet Weiss is the drummer that put the pavement back under Malkmus’ live shows, so you know she’s going to bring it every night for her own band. In fact the last time Quasi played the El Rey was opening for Sleater-Kinney. Weiss and ex-husband Sam Coomes began the set with the chaotic piano/bass/drum storm of “Alice The Goon” the first track on their marvelously moving 2006 album When The Going Gets Dark. Joanna Bolme, also bassist for The Jicks, officially turned Quasi into a permanent trio last year. Throughout the show I listened in awe as Sam pounded his keyboard and contorted his face into all sorts of expressions. The highlight for me was Coomes’ guitar note bending on Dark’s title track and–truthfully–just about anytime Weiss sang backup. No complaints about the setlist this time but had it been a full Quasi show, I would have tattooed “Please end the encore with Invisible Star” on my forehead. Their next and final gig this year is on November 15th in their hometown of Portland.