Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
So here's how this afternoon went. It was getting late in the day and we had an hour, maybe an hour and a half to tape this session with Tigercity, prior to them playing a show later in the night in Rock Island, at our now nearly famed pizza parlor. The Bay Area band Sleepy Sun were in the studio before them and Tigercity lead singer Bill Gillim was sporting a huge tuft of black beard that he didn't have growing from himself the last time he, Joel Ford, Andrew Brady and Gregory Settino came to Rock Island over two and a half years earlier.
They sauntered into the studio, surveyed what was there, hauled in what they felt they needed and began playing "A Better Place," a song that, at the time was unreleased and relatively untested. It begins with a shuddering phrase of high hat and snare, a deep-in-your-belly bass line that perks your interest immediately and makes you want to get a drink in your hand as quick as possible, hastening the night. There are faint chimings and flippant guitar sprees in bursts that make the song sound like an ode to the holiday season we're all about to enter, as well as those sorts of nights where - at the end of them, or in the middle of them - an epiphany strikes and suddenly we're thinking what a glorious thing it would be to just up and reinvent ourselves.
There's so much promise of improvement and better times on the horizon in this Cure-Roxy Music-sounding beauty that it should just be played over and over with the heartfelt belief that such an action will bring forth the desired results. The lights will be brighter and the colors will be richer and visible in breathless clarity. It's a song that will double you over and make you move parts of yourself that have been in hibernation for as long as you can remember. It's the reason why, on this afternoon, when they started and stopped the song half a dozen, if not more times, tweaking with levels and vocal effects, etc. that it was such a pleasurable experience. Hearing the intro to "A Better Place" bust through the speakers is akin to a face lighting up when you walk into the room, only this is your face and your lighting. It reminds you of certain magical evenings past or to come and Tigercity, in its entirety, is a refresher course in the good times that are wont to be relived and those that are always on the cusp of being liveable.