Thursday, December 22, 2011
Local crowds feed off Mike Brandon’s energy like they are eating their first meal in weeks.
At rowdy house parties on the CSU Monterey Bay campus, shows at the defunct Monterey Live and rock venues like Jose’s Lounge Underground, Brandon and his band the Mystery Lights have drawn overflowing crowds with a rowdy melange of surf, punk and raw rock ‘n’ roll. As Brandon tears through tunes like the MC5-flavored “Sleep Alone,” he often starts jumping like a possessed jackrabbit wearing a leopard print jacket. When he isn’t jumping, he’s bouncing across the stage on his knees while playing guitar.
Last year he jumped to New York City, hoping to bounce his admirable energy off of industry movers and shakers looking to sign the next big thing. He’s quickly found himself around the type of people he hoped he’d meet.
“Everyone is connected,” he says. “We see Karen O [of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs] all the time; I got smacked down in the middle of this crazy tornado of people.”
Brandon recently put together a new, still unnamed garage-rock band whose sound he likens to the crunchy vintage feel of the Mystery Lights.
“I’m writing new stuff and working on unreleased Mystery Lights stuff,” he says. “We’ve been recording night and day at our studio in Tribeca.”
Along with Brandon, the band includes Lights guitarist L.A. Solano, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simmons (not the Def Jam guy).
Their debut album will be released sometime in February. Two labels, In the Red and Modern Sky, have already shown interest.
Brandon also says the unnamed band is planning to tour China in May. But for now, the young spitfire is back in Prunedale for the holidays and has two shows lined up: Friday at the Alternative Café and Thursday, Dec. 29, at East Village.
“It’s gonna be like the good old days,” Brandon says. “We practiced the other day and nothing’s really changed.”
THE MYSTERY LIGHTS play 8:30pm Friday, Dec. 23, at the Alternative Café, 1230 Fremont Blvd., Seaside. $5. 583-0913; and 8pm Thursday, Dec. 29, at East Village, 498 Washington St., Monterey. $7 includes compilation of Crowd Sounds From the Quarters: The Demo. 373-5601.