November 20, 2019
There are two pieces of evidence of the debut live performance of Fast Times – a new project from Bay Area music scene stalwarts Andrew St. James, Duncan Nielsen (Doncat, Geographer), and Cody Rhodes (Sandy’s, CURLS, Geographer).
One is a shaky video taken by a member of San Francisco band Sandy’s from the green room at The Chapel, showing an enamored crowd and a widely grinning St. James, minutes into the trio’s rousing track “Tuesday Night.” The other, from the opposite angle and taken just a few moments later, a still photograph by local music photography luminary Paige K. Parsons of Nielsen, smiling back, eyes sparkling.
The magic – overwhelming, slightly disorienting – that abundantly and undeniably entered the room, is there in both.
The result of a bond formed from years of supporting the various iterations of each other’s musical offerings, the trio comprising Fast Times came together in the first part of 2019 as an experiment which now, months later, feels for each like a fated path. Their easily-found spirit of collaboration has already yielded a prolific, well-crafted tangle of songs, and those demos, now passed in secret through the Bay Area music community in the weeks following the Chapel show, continue to build excitement.
Steeped in nostalgia and given voice with the earnest lyrics of both St. James and Nielsen, and guided by the much-lauded Rhodes, the tracks are at once wistful (“10th Grade”) and tender (“Heaven Sent”), while still reactive to the complicated miasma of the now (“I Believe”). They are familiar, but provoking. They live and breathe, resoundingly, in the present. Now, a much-buzzed future awaits, and as their name may portend, there’s no trio better suited for its arrival.