Liz Simpson

A Drink with Exquisite Corps

Sacramento’s Exquisite Corps, the rock n’ roll band known for their orchestral sound, is coming to a Low Brau near you. They recently released their sophomore album, Vignettes, a departure from their lush, strings-heavy sound. Their new direction is focused on “the groove.”

I met with two of the band’s members, lead vocalist/guitarist Bryan Valenzuela and drummer/vocalist Robby Dean, at Block Butcher Bar to talk about how they’ve brought their unique groove to a once-a-month residency at Low Brau. “We’re doing every first Thursday of the month at Low Brau and it’s totally free. We have a great sound system and we like to transform the whole space,” Valenzuela said.

The show always includes an opening set, usually with bands Exquisite Corps has sought out and invited themselves. “This time we’re having this band called the Soft Bombs coming and they’re from Nevada City. We played with them out there a bunch and they’re a really amazing psychedelic band. Plus, they’re really nice, cool guys. That’s what’s really cool is that there are a lot of really nice people you meet on the road,” Valenzuela said.

Exquisite Corps’ members make an impression of being really nice, cool guys, as well. They’re the kinds of guys you can share a few beers at Block Butcher Bar with and chat about David Lynch films. Dean joked, “Don’t even come for our music, just us as people, we’re dope,” adding,

“We’re always out talking to everybody. We’re musicians, we like to have a good time.”

Good times aside, the band there creates a live experience that offers something different each month. The experience is a breathing, flexible being that allows for adjustments according to the mood or crowd. Dean shared, “Sometimes we’ll jam on a song for ten minutes and some nights, we won’t at all.”

The residency is sandwiched between a west coast tour and a northwest tour, a freewheeling, jammy, little interlude if you will. The band is seasoned within the Sacramento concert circuits as well, with a show at 2013’s Launch and a TBD Fest kick-off party at Low Brau with indie band, Life in 24 Frames, this year.

More than anything, the band looks forward to creating new moments during each set. “It seems like every band these days plays along to pre-recorded music and it just gets old. We’re about creating a live moment. Every time, it’s unique,” Dean said.

Valenzuela added, “I totally appreciate perfecting the sound in the studio and singing live over it. But we’re trying to be a force for something more organic.” Make the band’s monthly residency a ritual where you meet with friends and enjoy some beer, and start the weekend off on the right groovy note.


Photos | Liz Simpson