The Social Animals

Monqui Presents

The Social Animals

Neon Culpa

Mon, February 13

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Star Theater

Portland, OR


This event is 21 and over

The Social Animals
The Social Animals
The Social Animals are a full time, van-living young band. They speak through elegantly sarcastic, thoughtful lyrics with memorable melodies splattered across a canvas of indie rock instrumentation. They don't do backflips at their live shows or slide across their knees into guitar solos. Instead, they play their music passionately and honestly, carrying both the intensity to move feet and the delicacy to keep them still. Between songs, their dry commentary on the status of their lives and the world around them appeals to the type of person who, perhaps, spends time actually reading through a band bio.

Releasing their debut EP, "Formative Years" in late summer of 2016, The Social Animals have laid a sturdy foundation for the character and direction of the band. Songs like "Let Me Go" marry the grittiness of an honest band cramped in a Chevy Express with the pop sensibility of Tom Petty. "I Guess In America" offers a tongue-in-cheek outlook on the process of dealing with personal sadness under the seemingly comfortable umbrella of the U.S., and the privileges (or lack thereof) that come with it.

Unlike the shaky uneasiness of their V8 engine, these boys show no signs of stopping. Climbing from the gurgling depths of Wal-Mart parking lots and rattling beer cans, the band sits calmly atop the rubble with a full-length album in their back pocket. Recorded almost completely live at Modest Mouse's "Ice Cream Party Studios," the album is poised to make 2017 the most promising year of the band's career. Produced with help from Steve Berlin (Los Lobos, Deer Tick), the album, coined "Early Twenties," builds upon the groundwork of "Formative Years" and takes the band to new places both physically and sonically.
Neon Culpa
Neon Culpa
Neon Culpa is a high-energy, power-pop, alternative indie-rock band from Portland. Defined by an exhilarating, freewheeling energy that is balanced through a self-conscious, musical wittiness and reflective lyrics, the group aims to make music that will make you dance and think at the same time.

Neon Culpa is the result of a long series of musical journeys and overlapping paths, founded by singer-songwriter and guitarist Charlie Barker IV, and now includes brass player and vocalist Heidi Aispuro, bassist Eric Speiring, lead guitarist Aaron Byers, recently joined by drummer Evan Gutt. They have crafted a sound and music that is unique from anything produced by any other band, something which is rare and pretty hard to do after all the many that have preceded them through the ages.

Growing up in a provincial mountain town near Mt. Hood, Oregon, Charlie says his song writing sensibility was largely driven by the contrast of environments he experienced there, as he lived with one foot out in the country with one parent and in the conformist suburbs with the other. When the new millennium came to pass, unlike the various Armageddon scenarios, human and digital, that had been so vigorously foretold, Charlie began his career in song writing, with subjects and tales of first-world troubles and desires to escape. His musical life dawned by taking up the saxophone in middle school and was taught 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and 'Hey Joe' from his dad on guitar after being given a cheap classical acoustic on his 13th birthday. This quickly escalated to electric with a Washburn knock-off and a tiny econobox 15-watt practice amp. That unleashed the passionate torrent of one song after another, and age of 16 kicked off a series of invigorated music events, dubbed simply "the Sandy Shows". The band started out as the Antibiotics, then soon morphed into Blacklist 40...Chris Maher on bass, Hank Demars on rhythm guitar, and Eric Bodreau sitting at the drum throne. First sponsored by the rabid metal head biker local skateboard shop owner, punk bands such as 800 Octane and Virus 9 made regular appearances for these intense shows. These raves would often see more than 300 people packed into the humble community center. Charlie would set up his 3rd hand ancient lights and 5000 watts of amps & PAs, wreaking havoc with off the hook shows, and no one could believe the wall of sound that blasted out. There were surprisingly few arrests.

Blacklist 40 went on to play over a hundred gigs, the Portland Rose Festival, and then won the Gibson Guitar / ASCAP battle of the bands, getting flown to the legendary Key Club in L.A. While there, guitarist Benji and drummer Eric locked themselves out on a tiny seventh floor balcony, and mayhem resulted below when they became trapped. They were finally rescued before sunrise, played the show, and were grabbed by the head of A&R at Universal Music. But we all know record deals are now a thing of the rock n roll past, and all artists must now be devious and guerrilla resourceful to be able to pursue their music devotion.

Meanwhile, Heidi, a classmate of Charlie's, would often attend these crazy shows as it was the place to be. A rather more quiet and studious music student, she was immersed in intensive classical studies; attaining a proficient level on the trombone, trumpet, bassoon, saxophone, euphonium, tuba, and piano. Having grown up listening to classical, jazz, 60's rock, and mariachi, she began singing in school and church choir at an early age. Inspired by her older sister's natural aptitude for singing and playing the flute, among other instruments, Heidi eagerly joined as many school music ensembles possible in addition to outside youth orchestras in the Portland Metro area. Studying with Portland's top musicians and building an impressive, borderline hoarder-status CD collection, she would gain competitive success in high school placing in state solo competitions and auditioned honor ensembles. Despite playing various kinds of complex music, Heidi had long desired to be a part of the local rock scene, though never actively pursuing it, and had a great respect for her classmate's creativity and enthusiasm for musical performance.

At the end of high school, Charlie made the official band name change to NEON CULPA, and began national touring behind Everclear, playing every House of Blues across the nation and numerous other clubs, including Harpo's Detroit, BB King's Club in New York, San Francisco's Independent and D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Heidi went off to the east coast to begin serious study at the New England Conservatory, playing in such places as Boston's Jordan Hall and Harvard's Sanders Theatre while mingling with classical and jazz artists while Charlie immersed himself in song writing and sound recording engineering.

For several years, while also finishing college, Charlie continued exploring diverse music genres, and embarked on a prolific creative period of writing, arranging and recording countless songs at the new Bombshell Flats Studios that he & his dad built from scratch in the basement of the Hawthorne house. With a changing set of band members, he played some fabulous shows, and opened for the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Sublime with Rome, the Motels, Seven Mary Three, and so many other great performers. Heidi continued absorbing a myriad sounds and perfecting her sonic art. Though these two had long walked parallel musical paths, it was not until Charlie decided it was now time to record a professional album of Neon Culpa tunes that he & Heidi finally collaborated musically. Upon returning from Boston, Heidi had rented a room in Charlie's (mad)house and progressively became involved with the creative process of together crafting what would ultimately become "Artichoke", the band's debut LP recorded in mid-2014 (soon to be released), adding musical input, backing vocals, horns, and keyboards. So marked the beginning of a love affair that engendered Neon Culpa with the spark it had always sought.