Touring on their first album since 1988, and one they’ve spent five years reunited and working towards in an organic and inspired way, seminal LA post-punk outfit The Dream Syndicate are set to play The High Watt tonight, Dec. 7 with Canadian psych rockers Elephant Stone, for what appears to be their first Music City outing in at least three decades. Never given their proper due back in the day, the group, and especially first album The Days of Wine and Roses, managed to achieve a growing cult following and continued critical praise in their 25 year absence, and, reunited, feel as relevant and fresh as ever. Tickets to their long-overdue Nashville show are still available here, so grab them while they last and read on for more about why you don’t want to miss out!
THE DREAM SYNDICATE
A seminal fixture in the Paisley Underground Southern California scene of the early ’80s, LA alt rock/neo-psychedelic outfit The Dream Syndicate sprung to life in 1981, in Davis, CA, and quickly gained a regional following as the first new wave inspired act to emerge from their area. Basement jam sessions and budget demos swiftly gave way to their debut full-length, Days of Wine and Roses, which channeled influences of peers like Television, Velvet Underground, Big Star, and the Modern Lovers, and resonated throughout the underground scene, despite failing to make a significant mainstream dent. The LP has since gone on to become known as a critically beloved masterpiece, as is regarded as the group’s defining work. Upon its release, The Dream Syndicate hit the road with the likes of U2 and R.E.M., both of the cusp of their breakout fame, and ultimately landed a major label deal ahead of 1984’s Medicine Show. While they continued to tour relentlessly, hone their sound, and mature in the ensuing years, which saw the release of two more respectable full-lengths, the band were plagued by lineup changes, label woes, and periods of inactivity, and ultimately chose to disband in 1989. By 2012, frontman Steve Wynn, who remained active with several other prominent projects, sought to reform The Dream Syndicate, recruiting original drummer Dennis Duck, longtime bassist Mark Walton, and guitarist Jason Victor, who he’d collaborated with for years on other projects. This new version of the band have since gone on to play countless shows and earn rave reviews, seeking to bridge their now-celebrated legacy with a fresh eye to the future. After taking the appropriate amount of time to allow for an organic creative process, the group debuted their first album in nearly 30 years earlier this fall. Dubbed How Did I Find Myself Here?, the record is perhaps the best thing they’ve done since their debut, and feels like a direct response to that classic, embracing their roots while injecting contemporary flair. Needles to say, The Dream Syndicate are an under-appreciated legend of their era, and a chance to see them in an intimate spot like The High Watt is one you surely don’t want to pass up!
Formed nearly a decade ago in Montreal, Elephant Stone are the brainchild of vocalist, bassist, songwriter, and sitar player Rishi Dhir. Like The Dream Syndicate, they adopt a strong influence of psychedelic rock and retro pop, but inject their own unique flair by fusing it with traditional Indian music, incorporating sitar, tabla, dilruba, and other traditionally Eastern instruments. Formed after the breakup of Dhir’s prior group, The High Dials, Elephant Stone have released four full-lengths, most recently last year’s Ship of Fools, and have been met with underground acclaim. A perfect contemporary compliment to The Dream Syndicate’s legendary appeal, they’re certainly worth the extra effort to be punctual!
The Dream Syndicate and Elephant Stone will perform tonight, Dec. 7 at The High Watt. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $20.