Saucy Yoda has turned to the dark side (sort of), which may come as some surprise to local fans that have followed her since she first surfaced in Tacoma at Maltoberfest, an Oktoberfest-spoofing event held at Bob's Java Jive in 2011.
Saucy Yoda being the stage name of Alaska's Melodie Langer who will headline The Valley Pub on Wednesday, Jan. 18. To this point, she has specialized in irreverent party jams about turning up (“Party Every Day,” “Mothership”), turning back down (“Melatonin”) and Chinese takeout (or possibly something else on the innuendo-heavy “Wonton”).
Her sound is an infectious blend of rap, pop and garage-rock that the Alaska Dispatch News recently called “Punky Brewster meets the Beastie Boys.” But from her first album, “Dysfunctional Dingus,” to 2015's “It's Not a Mystery,” there has been a pronounced movement away from programmed rhythm tracks to guitar-driven rock, a transition that came partly out of necessity after her computer died a few years back.
“I didn't have a way to make beats, and my old producer quit music and sold all of his equipment,” Langer recalled last week.
So she picked up her first guitar and quickly realized she preferred strumming to staring at an LED screen for hours on end. “That's just such a tedious practice,” she said. “I'd rather just hold a guitar in my hand and make (songs) like that. My first album, I spent an entire year recording, working almost every single day in the studio; and it was all done on a computer.”
Find Saucy Yoda's music online at saucyyoda.bandcamp.com
Langer may have rapped to digital backing tracks during her earliest performances, but fans should expect a full rock show on Wednesday. Her band includes drummer Jackson Eli McQuown and Bremerton-based bassist Dante Manalo, who will also open the show with solo ukulele material, as Ukululu Brown. Singer and backup dancer Nessa Marie will also open the show under her own alias, Sasshole.
Fans can also expect to hear some new material, which is where Saucy Yoda's flirtation with “the dark side” comes in. Langer said she has been drawing on weirder influences – the likes of Mr. Bungle and Jay Reatard – as she has prepared a “darker” new album that she hopes to release over the summer.
“This album is different,” Langer said. “I kind of consider my band to be like Ween or Beck or the Beastie Boys where it's just all over the place and people generally tend to like it. Most of my fans are pretty open minded.”
Among new cuts that may show up during next week's set are “Park Song,” which she said features spooky whistling; a 1960s-style garage-rock cut called “No Fun,” and a number called “Sun Slime.” “That one is more ominous and surreal sounding,” she said, “as if the twins from 'The Shining' were to write a song and sing it.”
Also joining Saucy Yoda on the bill Wednesday will be weirdo electro-clash duo Garlic Man and Chikn, which recently switched monikers to Creature Hole. (Do yourselves a favor and check out their video for “Shavin' My Leg” on YouTube; but maybe do it at home since it's mildly NSFW.)
The fun will start at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and there will be a $5 cover charge. The Valley is located at 1206 Puyallup Ave; www.thevalleytacoma.com
for further details.
Saucy Yoda and company may also appear Thursday night at Real Art Tacoma, though details had not yet solidified as the deadline for this story approached. Visit www.realarttacoma.com
for possible updates.