TacocaT, the Seattle party-punk band behind KEXP program Sonic Reducer's often played "UTI," returns from touring to play The Funhouse.
“Train!” the girls from TacocaT shout in unison.
Huddled around a cell on speakerphone in Chicago’s Chinatown, the Seattle party-punk band is repeatedly interrupted by the famous elevated train.
The sound is loud and annoying, but Bree McKenna (bass), Lelah Maupin (drums) and Emily Nokes (vocals) make it fun, laughing and announcing it the way kids playing street hockey shout “car!”
Seen in Seattle playing sweaty house parties and small, dirty clubs, the youthful TacocaT (everybody’s between 23 and 25) also gets regular radio play, a coup for a noisy, pointedly unpolished band with a stupid palindrome name whose most famous song is a funny/angry anthem about urinary-tract infections: “Thought I had to pee, but that was a lie! UTI! UTI!” goes the chorus.
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If you’re the least bit conservative or serious-minded, it can be off-putting. Maupin says she even surprises herself when considering, if not the crassness, the sheer ridiculousness of her quartet.
Luckily for Seattle, KEXP-FM (90.3) has Sonic Reducer, an open-minded, punk-rock radio show, and luckily for TacocaT, one of the show’s DJs, Brian Foss, is a big fan.
“Sadly, there’s not so many goofy bands in town, since Calvin from Steaming Wolf Penis moved out of town,” says Foss in an e-mail. “As long as TacocaT keeps writing good, catchy songs, I’m gonna stick by them, even if they get serious.”
He frequently books the band at his club, The Funhouse, “Seattle’s Oldest Surviving Punk Rock Club,” aka the place with the scary clown sign across the street from the Space Needle beneath the monorail.
“Train!” the girls shout again.
“It’s ricketier than the monorail,” says Nokes. “Is that a word? Ricketier?” It is.
With fourth bandmate Eric Randall (guitar, vocals) walking around somewhere in the Windy City, TacocaT’s women answer the burning question: How goes the tour?
“We just got out of Ohio,” says McKenna. “We got stranded at the place we played because there was a tornado in Columbus. It was pretty gnarly.”
It’s a shoestring tour across America in a Ford Windstar opening for San Francisco band Forever, “the gay/lesbian version of TacocaT,” according to McKenna. Sleeping on floors and couches, dealing with sudden cancellations and accepting last-minute offers, not to mention playing a high-energy concert almost every night, is hard work, but TacocaT’s road stories are funny.
Hawking one of the limited-run records of debut “Shame Spiral,” released by upstart Seattle label Don’t Stop Believin’, Nokes says she had to explain to a girl in Pennsylvania that the vinyl was not, in fact, “a big CD.”
“In New Orleans, we asked a cop for directions, and he said he’d take us to get beignets,” says Emily. “He put me in the driver’s seat and let us wear his hat.”
It doesn’t hurt that everybody in the band is good-looking, but TacocaT’s jokes and uncanny party-starting ability mean you have to try in order to hate them. And “trying” isn’t going to get you anywhere with this band.
When asked how he’d convert someone who wasn’t immediately into them, Foss says, “really, some stuff you shouldn’t overthink. I’ll get down with deconstructing Mingus, but when it comes to TacocaT, I’m just gonna dance!”
Andrew Matson: 206-464-2153