[caption id="attachment_1882" align="alignnone" width="360" caption="The Underground Coffeehouse hosts two live concerts a week. The Underground Coffeehouse is located on the third floor of the Viking Union. Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review"]The Underground Coffeehouse hosts two live concerts a week. The Underground Coffeehouse is located on the third floor of the Viking Union. Photo by Erik Simkins/The AS Review[/caption]


By Matt Crowley/The AS Review

 Before we all leave campus for break, the ASP Underground Coffeehouse Concert Series has a few more shows to offer for students looking to take a break from studying.

 At 8 p.m. on Dec. 2, Tin Tree Factory will be stopping at the Coffeehouse by way of Seattle. The show will be opened by singer-songwriter Chelsea Weber-Smith.

 "[Chelsea’s music] is definitely folkier," Underground Coffeehouse Coordinator Nick Duncan said. "A lot of songs about traveling, a lot of things about what’s going on in the world."

 Tin Tree Factory began as a solo acoustic project for frontman Johnny D. After awhile, he began collaborating with other artists and eventually formed Tin Tree Factory as we know it today. Johnny stars as the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, joined by drummer/keyboardist Marc and horn player/pianist/everything in between/vocalist Stef, who previously played with local band Your Heart Breaks. Since becoming a band, Tin Tree Factory has released a couple albums, the most recent being "Admire This Mess." All of their albums are available for free via their Web site (www.tintreefactory.com), so you don’t really have a reason not to check these guys out.

 But in case you still aren’t convinced, here is all you need to know: Tin Tree Factory is plucky, fun and occasionally goofy (as I am writing this, a kazoo just invaded my eardrums). The music is simple enough, but in the best way possible. When all three members are really clicking, like in "Living for Today," it sounds like the perfect soundtrack for a spring day, as an accordion inhales and exhales over punctuated horn notes and light guitar strumming.

 As for Johnny’s voice, the best way to describe it is to look back at Tin Tree Factory when the band was just Johnny. On his last solo record, "Rejoice In How We Fall," Johnny covers a few Elliott Smith songs, including a great cover of "Rose Parade," a must-listen for fans of Smith’s work. Johnny notes Smith as an influence which is apparent in his music and singing style. Of course, Johnny sounds nothing like Smith, but the way he approaches his songs and the emotion he carries with them certainly evokes memories of the late singer-songwriter.

 Later in the week, at 8 p.m. on Dec. 4, the Canadian band Apollo Ghosts will visit Western for the last Underground Coffeehouse Concert Series show of the quarter. And to be honest, Coffeehouse Coordinators Duncan and Lora Mednick saved the best for last. Hailing from Vancouver, Apollo Ghosts aren’t the most unique or innovative band to come through the Coffeehouse. They play fairly straightforward guitar-bass-drums indie rock, but they do it very well, with a selection of songs worthy of your favorite On-The-Go playlist. They can go from Black Lips-esque punk, like in "Little Yokohama," to harmonious accordion-driven indie with songs such as "Dobermans."

 "Their live show is pretty over-the-top," Duncan said.

 "They have a lot of spirit," Mednick said. "That’s what drew them to me."

 Mednick believes that so far the Coffeehouse has upheld their mission to bring a wide variety of music to Western and hopes to continue doing that for the rest of the year.

 "Stay tuned. We’ve got good stuff coming up," she said, adding, "we are looking for student representation. If you want to play or know somebody who wants to play, let us know."

 Duncan and Mednick can be contacted in Viking Union 422 or by e-mailing them at asp.coffeehouse@wwu.edu.

 As always, the shows are free and open to everyone.