Band of the Week

Posted October 1, 2007 in Music

Vernon Falls Off a Building are a fairly anomalous bunch. While their live sets usually present a kinky, ambitious sort of space-rock, as a rule, they write whatever they feel like writing–jagged nu-prog, wispy ballads, dippy Gothic Westerns, delirious a cappella freakouts. The rhythm section quietly waits to strike as the boy/girl vocals evoke that most universal tension, then the band pounces out of the pocket to smear fuzz across the horizon before smoldering out again and rolling around on the floor with the dogs. This is interesting to see and feel, when one gets the chance.

But for the better part of the last 13 years, the numerous incarnations of the group have tragicomically endured a string of public disasters and shake-ups so pervasive and persistent that I’m afraid to get on an airplane with any of them. I’ve seen them banned from venues, beaten by bouncers, breaking strings, blowing fuses, fainting, bleeding, firing each other in the midst of practices, and, most recently, finding that their bass guitar–likely the single most valuable piece of equipment in their arsenal–had gone missing at exactly the moment they were to take the stage (it was located in a vehicle owned by another performer, whose crew had inadvertently packed it up, just Trying To Help).

All this is somewhat baffling from a karmic standpoint, because they’re four of the sweetest, albeit most luckless, ladies and gentlemen in town. Valeri, Michael, Esteban, and even the curmudgeonly James have all been gracious hosts and generally good company as I’ve gotten to know them. They work hard, play hard, and some of them even pray and eat their vitamins, though that never helped Led Zeppelin.

Take in a Vernon show if you can. Just make sure to seal yourself in an asbestos bag and wear a helmet. More info and song clips at

Attention Riverside/San Bernardino County bands (you too, Claremont, La Verne, San Dimas and Pomona)! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Band of the Week, IE Weekly, 2175 Sampson Ave., Ste. 118, Corona, CA 92879. Or you can be lazy and e-mail us your MySpace link to


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