CONCERT PREVIEW: Strong coffee a way of life for these diverse music duos

Posted February 14th, 2014 by genestout

Sylvan Esso (photo:

Sylvan Esso (photo:



It’s not just a way of life. It’s also the new single by Sylvan Esso, the folk/EDM (!) pairing of Mountain Man’s Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn (Made of Oak) that performs Saturday, Feb. 15, at Seattle’s Barboza.

And, OK, maybe coffee is just a way of life for another duo, Middle Class Rut (also known as MC Rut), the alt-rockers who perform, along with Dinosaur Pile-Up (!), March 2 at El Corazon.

“I’m definitely one of those pathetic people who can’t function until I’ve had my one cup of extremely strong, French-pressed coffee,” MC Rut singer-drummer Sean Stockham says. “On tour, unless you bring your whole rig on the road, good coffee can be hard to come by.

“I go to great lengths, literally, usually on foot, to get an acceptable cup, and I’m fine with that. It’s all part of the fun.”

MC Rut, which also features singer-guitarist Zack Lopez, is having more fun now that “our old FOH engineer“ (that would be the audio guy who mans the board at the “front of the house“ at live shows) has created a signature line of coffee for the band, via Seattle‘s Anchorhead Coffee.

Middle Class Rut (photo:

Middle Class Rut (photo:

“We saw the opportunity to collaborate with our buddy Mike Steiner,” Stockham says, “on a custom limited blend. He roasted up some beans, we designed a logo, and the rest is history.”

The duo, who have “been playing together since we were kids” in Sacramento, scored high with “New Low,“ which racked up nearly five million views on YouTube. But they rewrote history on their current album, the expansive “Pick Up Your Head.”

“Around the time we started putting our second record together,” Stockham says, “I think we were a little burnt on some of the limitations that we were feeling as a two-piece.

“We basically gave ourselves freedom in the studio to just add whatever musical elements we felt the song needed. At the end of the day we had this group of songs that couldn’t be done, live, the same way most of our older stuff could. We chose to find humans, as opposed to computers, to help us perform the new songs.

“We’ve since scaled back down to two again, but it was fun either way. The next record will probably just be spoken word with a single guitar behind it. Way easier to tour that way . . . ”

Listen of Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee” here. And read more about Middle Class Rut here.

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