Concert Reviews

Beat Connection on the Spice Girls, Raffi and Heartbreak

Seattle's Beat Connection pay Dallas a visit tonight on the heels of their 12-song debut, The Palace Garden. We talked with members Reed Juenger and Jarred Katz a few weeks ago about the first time they bought a CD, the first time they toured, and what they expect from their first show in Dallas.

What was the first music product you ever owned: cassette, LP or CD? Reed Juenger: This is a bit embarrassing. The first CD I bought with my own money I actually remember quite vividly and really regret. It was this girl in my first grade class who I had a crush on; she was super into the Spice Girls and I wanted to have some common ground. So I saved up all my allowance for months and bought this Spice Girls CD. By the time I had enough money to purchase it, she was onto The Backstreet Boys or something like that. So I was horribly jaded. Before that, I had my parents' music and Raffi cassettes and stuff like that. Jarred Katz: Because I was listening to my parents' music, I got a lot of Phil Collins and Celine Dion. I think the first CD I bought was Smash Mouth.

Was it Fush Yu Mang, the one with "Walking On the Sun"? Katz: You know, I think it was Astro Lounge. I'm impressed with your knowledge of their discography.

I worked at a Best Buy at the time, and we couldn't keep enough copies of Fush Yu Mang on the shelf, along with Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, the Titanic soundtrack and Sugar Ray's Floored. Katz: That's an underrated album!

Any fond memories of seeing MTV for the first time? Juenger: Yeah! There's this music video. I don't remember the song at all and I don't remember who the artist was, but it was some incredibly creepy music video with this dude who had a bright pink mohawk.

You went on your first tour last year, correct? Juenger: Yeah.

How did it go, and what did you learn that's helped you with the band's current touring schedule? Katz: Because we were opening for STRFKR, there wasn't a lot of time to get settled and set everything up, so we'd have to set up and do a really quick line check. We had to learn how to play on the fly and tell those monitor dudes what you need at that moment. That really helped us with real small-time constraints and stuff like that. We've become better listeners and know what we need to hear. Juenger: Definitely. Going a little bit beyond that, learning how to just go with the flow and not get too worried about it. This time around, we're gonna hopefully have more time to do soundchecks, but I think we're going to be more relaxed and comfortable onstage after that. That was a really good starting point for us. It's a lot of fun and we want to keep doing it.

Beat Connection recently became a four-piece. How did it go when you first practiced together and played a show? Juenger: It originally started out with myself and Jordan [Koplowitz]. We were performing as a two-piece and it was very electronic and then we asked Jarred to join us on drums. The first practices were . . . I don't have a clear memory of it being really difficult or easy or anything like that. We are all friends. With Tom [Eddy, vocalist], his background is much more rock, funk, soul and blues than the rest of us, and his performance style as well. So it's nice to add that element. There's more opportunity to improvise and jam our songs out. That was pretty apparent from the get-go. Katz: It took a while to see how it would match real instrumentation with electronic stuff. But I think, after working on the whole album, we realized what we needed to do for the live show. Ever since, we've been adding more parts and practicing. I think we're having a lot more fun now.

Have you ever played Beat Connection's music for your parents? What did they think? Juenger: I met Jarred's dad for the first time recently. He was doing a recital for his jazz studies major and his dad told him he was a big fan. This one music video we have has been blowing up in his office, so I think our parents are pretty supportive. Katz: Yeah, my parents like it, which is surprising considering the music they listen to.

Have y'all ever played Dallas before? Katz: No. Juenger: It's gonna be my first time in Dallas, other than the airport.

What do you think Dallas is? What do you hope for? And I hope I can explain what it really is, because some people think of it from what was on Dallas. Juenger: I don't have that preconceived notion yet. I think it's going to be another city that has some good food for us. If I don't see a dude driving a convertible with a ten-gallon hat with bullhorns on the front of his car, I'm going to be disappointed.

Beat Connection play tonight at LaGrange. White Arrows open.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs