Watching the members of We the Granada (formerly known as the Marauder’s Ghostship) set up their equipment, it’s impossible to tell what kind of music they’re about to play. Scott Martin, with his frizzy mop and acoustic guitar, might be good for some unplugged gangster rap covers; Ronnie Sutphin, wearing horn-rimmed glasses and carrying an alto sax looks ready for free-jazz jamming; guitarist Dustin Coffman, sporting a Queens of the Stone Age shirt and a wicked forearm tattoo, who pretends to jack off his belt through sound check, looks like he’d belong in practically any rock band but this one; lead singer Ashton Trudeau, who sets up a conga drum and impersonates a Theremin to test the mic — well you get the idea.
Or not. Once the music starts it’s still impossible to tell what kind of music We the Granada plays. It’s entirely possible they’re playing several different songs at once. Trudeau’s shrieks grate against Sutphin’s soothing sax blurts, which fuse with Martin’s strumming for brief coffee-bar interludes that are quickly eviscerated by Coffman’s fast-finger shreds. Sounds at first like a case of scrambled set lists or deliberate sabotage, but the Granada’s body language indicates they genuinely believe they’re rocking out.
Martin flops his head and bounces against the wall. Trudeau is constantly knocking his drum into the front row. Sutphin, when his sax isn’t mellowing the schizophrenic vibe, is screaming with slasher-film intensity. And Coffman, most unbelievably, is running between band members, consulting with them, as if they’re all playing the same song. As it turns out, they are, if you listen long enough. Drummer Chris Inniss is the key; his purpose-driven perscussion creates a nearly calculable rhythm through will power alone. Only bassist Joe Raines sounds like he’s paying attention, but Inniss’s fills stop the gaps separating the other’s ideas, bouncing between them almost rapidly enough to provide the illusion of an actual connection. But those kit heroics take a toll. By set’s end he’s sweat-soaked and panting.
“If anybody has any water for our drummer, that would be much appreciated,” Trudeau says and then thanks the audience with a tongue-knotting burst of babble.