By Aarik Danielsen
Touring, if rock ballads and band diaries are to be believed, can get a little monotonous.
Playing the same songs night after night after night. An endless cycle of green rooms and budget hotels.
But for Vanessa Silberman and Jimmy Dias, their current jaunt feels new, maybe even a little precarious, each night.
She is a Los Angeles-based Jill of all trades who creates her own music, but also boosts other performers through producing, engineering and artist development. Silberman writes melodic rock steeped in the grit and grunge of the 1990s. He is the heartbeat of The Love Dimension, a San Francisco band that fits neatly within that city’s lineage of great psych-pop bands.
As artists, each marches to the beat of their own drummer. On this tour, those drummers just happen to be one another — Silberman and Dias are trading time behind the drums, backing the other’s set.
VANESSA SILBERMAN, THE LOVE DIMENSION, BLANK TRIP
When: Doors open at 8 p.m. Monday
Where: Cafe Berlin, 220 N. Tenth St.
Silberman often tours alone; Dias’ band is a rotating collective. So in this case, it made sense to help each other out. Their willingness to get behind the kit typifies the sort of “where there’s a will, there’s a way” most independent musicians adopt.
Sitting in the drum chair, in addition to their other musical roles, has brought growth for both artists. Silberman has written drum parts in the studio, but never drummed live for another artist. Dias has heard his sound expand and deepen by degrees.
Silberman’s sound has put him back in touch with his roots in grunge and punk — among his earliest influences were artists such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. When she plays Love Dimension songs, they take on a sort of White Stripes-esque quality, he said.
The tour is a marriage of the natural and uncomfortable, of instinct and intention. Dias started out on drums, bringing a rhythmic orientation to his music.
“I think of guitar more as a drum in a way,” he said, with guitar strokes corresponding to snare hits, for example.
Silberman has enjoyed the chance to supply harmonies on Dias’ songs, which naturally leave space for vocal layers.
Both have learned lessons about endurance, pulling double duty each night.
“I have to drum first before I sing,” Silberman said. ”... I use so much energy for playing guitar and singing ... it is so difficult ... for me to drum after that, because I’m exhausted.”
They also have had nightly, tangible reminders about flexibility. That characteristic has to be present to maintain a touring schedule and a musical life, Silberman said.
There are other fringe benefits to the arrangement — both Silberman and Dias joked that loading in and breaking down drums each night has helped them get in better physical shape.