Show Preview: Thumpasaurus, The Catalyst Atrium, Wednesday Feb. 20

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Thumpasaurus isn’t your everyday band. Right from the choice of name (and, really, what a name) to the genre they slay in, Thumpasaurus is, well, one of a kind, and they’re playing the Catalyst Atrium on Wednesday this week.

The band’s music can be described using many adjectives. Many, many adjectives. And it’s not unlikely that you’ll find critics or fans labeling Thumpasaurus as jazz, rock, or for lack of a better description, just indie, but this would be to duck a glorious challenge. Thumpasaurus sits somewhere between punk, funk, glam and some sort of retro-future importation of James Brown howls, and that’s putting it simply. It’s easy to be offbeat, but it’s harder to do it with rhythm. They’re only one record in, so it remains to be seen how they’ll progress once they’ve mined the entire sci-fi canon for its weirder and more day-glo inspirations. But if Thumpasaurus’s fast-growing loyal fan base is anything to go by, there’s more longevity to Thumpasaurus than you might assume.

There’s no denying that The Book of Thump, which was Thumpasaurus’ first record, was well-received. “Mental Karate”, with its punk esthetic mashed into synth-pop like bubblegum into hair, was an early success. “You Are So Pretty” was another popular track, with the right mix of lightness and hilarity, as was “Space Barn”, a mad, crowd-pleasing slice of funk bass that dares you to recall Primus’ Sailing the Seas of Cheese, except that Primus was a touch more lucid, and made you dance less. Released as a limited edition vinyl, The Book of Thump was almost perfectly judged to frustrate supply and bait hipsters everywhere. And clearly it has worked.

The group’s five members all met at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Propelled by a common love for harmony and composition, and driven by a desire to do something different, they banded together and created Thumpasaurus. As far as we can tell, no time machine was involved. With Lucas Tamaren on the guitar and vocals, Henry Solomon on the saxophone, Paul Cornish on the keys, Logan Kane in charge of the bass, and Henry Was handling the drums and production, the band comes across as a group of friends having a great time on stage. The energy is contagious, avoiding clever-clever music-bro pretentions through sheer exuberance. Imagine early-aughts punk-funk-dance outfit The Rapture (“House of Jealous Lovers”) collided with early space rock Pink Floyd (like The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets). And of course, the Beatles are in the mix (listen to Thumpasaurus and then “Flying” and you’ll see Thumpasaurus stroking their chins and having ideas in the background). If that’s your jam, you’ll love the Thump’s music.

The band is on a wild tour that spans across several cities all over the country, and if you want to hear them live, the tour covers cities including Portland, Seattle, Oakland, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and of course, our very own Santa Cruz. So, if you’re curious about how good this LA band is, check out their live performance at The Catalyst Atrium. It’s likely that you’ll leave the venue as a Thumpasaurus fan if you aren’t one already.

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.