Coastwest Unrest

Coastwest Unrest

People with Bodies

Thu, February 1, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Las Vegas, NV


This event is 21 and over

Coastwest Unrest
Coastwest Unrest
The songs on Coastwest Unrest’s new album, The Crazed Ones, on their own indie Reclaim Records label, can’t be understood completely without knowing its chief singer/songwriter Noah Dickie, and his older, drummer brother Josh, are west coast natives, having grown up, first in Fontana, CA, then, after the 1992 L.A. Riots, settling in Las Vegas.

“I wanted our name to reflect the locale,” says Noah. “We are a Western band. Our music reflects that upbringing, from the riots in L.A. to this weird city in the middle of the desert. Unrest comes from the general uneasiness, the anxiety of the music.”

That combination of the timeless, barren nature of the Mojave juxtaposed against the neon glitz of the Sin City strip has created an uneasy balance between the roots Americana of their early work and the stripped-down, stark punk-folk of their latest. The desert looms large in the musical vision of Coastwest Unrest, its forbidding ecosystem, a hallucinatory, peyote-infused psychedelia that joins the barren expanse to the ominous edge of a city built on sand, a film noir that evokes the pulp fiction of Jim Thompson and the alien punk range of Charles Bock’s award-winning 2008 novel, Beautiful Children about Vegas punks roaming the streets in wild packs.

The band’s music has become even darker over time, still with one foot into the roots, but this time, even more directly, reflecting a desert haze that has dissipated and hardened under a big, black sun. Things may now be more on the surface and out in the open, but they are no less ambiguous. “You have to read between the lines,” explains Noah. “Growing up with all that insanity and violence had a major effect on me.”

“I’ve always respected artists that reflect their environment, and sing about what they know,” says Noah, who started playing guitar at nine, while listening to everything from Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons and ‘90s hip-hop (check the OutKast homage in “The Mainstream”) to Iron Maiden and The Germs. “I couldn’t see doing anything else,” he says, referencing L.A. poet Charles Bukowski, “I was born into this.”

Co-produced in Berkeley, CA, with Jim Greer (Foster the People, Yoko Ono, New York Dolls, Dr. Octagon), The Crazed Ones was mostly written before the current political maelstrom. Still, Noah’s songwriting proved remarkably prescient, from the environmental crisis denoted in “EPA (Edward Paul Abbey),” his double-edged tribute to the dystopian/anarchist novelist of the same name who predicted catastrophe in novels like The Monkey Wrench Gang to the Jungian archetypes in “More Madness, Please,” the mythological Joseph Campbell journey in “Re Wasteland” and the cinematic darkness of “Theodora.”

Noah has deftly blended the political and the personal, optimism and pessimism, the specific and the general, into a series of songs that ache with guilt and temptation, addiction and release, the arid desert and the teeming city, another chapter in a musical output that is best described by the title of one of their previous albums, Old Weird America – transparent yet mysterious, simple but multi-layered, both nakedly aggressive and dreamily contemplative.

The son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother, Noah jokes, “I got the best of guilt from both worlds… I can deflect it and dish it out,” reflected in songs like “A Drink, A Lover, A Habit,” where the two brothers hold a musical dialogue or the steamy sensuality of “Once She Starts,” which references “those artists whose work encompasses love, sex and politics,” he says, citing Henry Miller and Leonard Cohen as two prime examples. Even the lilting piano earworm of “Science of Saturday Night” juxtaposes the innocence of the courting process with regret, as does the confessional “State Line,” with its lament, “I’ve been drinking too much/With you on my mind… I’ve always cast you into a lesser part/That’s a tough way to treat a heart… Oh this boy does dream.”

As someone who observes a healthy, naturalist lifestyle after a self-destructive adolescence, Noah studied biology at University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where he worked at a 23-acre resort property near Lake Mead, tending to the plant life and building habitats for the adopted desert tortoises that lived there. And while he felt alienated about growing up in Las Vegas, he eventually learned to come to terms with its edgy aggression and transience, an element of danger, which has crept into his writing.

“I do go to dark places to write sometimes, but I’m not a negative person in real life,” says Noah. “These are just the songs that come through me.”

One can find that Unrest throughout The Crazed Ones, whose influences are apparent on the album’s Sgt. Peppers-like cover, which depicts the likes of such heroes as Leonard Cohen, D. Boon, Harry Dean Stanton, Muhammad Ali, Richard Pryor, Iggy Pop, Nina Simone, R. Crumb, Patti Smith, Charles Mingus, Walt Whitman, Frank Sinatra, Shane MacGowan, Edgar Allen Poe, John Brown, Thelonious Monk, Genesis P-Orridge, Mark Twain and Edward Paul Abbey.

“I don’t see us slowing down at all,” says Noah about what the future holds for Coastwest Unrest. “Just continue recording and performing.”

“Time will tell if we’re the brave or the crazed ones” “The Crazed Ones”
People with Bodies
People with Bodies
People with Bodies is a band from Reno, Nevada, USA. They have a plant and a van. 4 people, 4 bodies.
Venue Information:
124 South 11th Street
Las Vegas, NV, 89101