I musta looked like the Ms. Pac-Man chase scene to drinkers on Orange Avenue Oct. 28, but I was ping-ponging between two separate but notable bills at the Social and Back Booth.
First was Dish, the brotherly DeLand duo. They’ve hit gold with their junk percussion, but I haven’t been sold on ’em so far because their vision hasn’t jelled. It still needs whittling, but this set showed decent evolution with some nicely charged moments. Add more of that electric guitar and they could be onto something.
Over at the Booth, Saviours’ big, snarling set was one mean bitch. As tough as it was technical, the sound of Oakland, Calif.’s promising new metal gods bore down like a herd of charging buffalo. My gratitude, gentlemen, for the first-rate ass-kicking.
Back at the Social was L.A. freshman Great Northern. I didn’t think anything redeeming could ever come out of the steaming pile of castrated shit that is 30 Seconds to Mars, but singer/songwriter Solon Bixler emerged from its ranks. Life’s weird, I guess. Anyway, he’s got something good with the big, exhaling prettiness of Great Northern. Like Low on uppers or the Thrills on downers, their lush dream pop was colored with a stately, sun-kissed sense of melody and stroked in cinematic arabesque sweeps.
Then Sweden’s Witchcraft turned Back Booth into a time machine dialed to 1971 with a jarringly realistic reincarnation of the mystic heaviness that first forged metal. Shamelessly revivalist, yes, but it was significantly more muscular and transporting in person.
Ending the night on a whimper, however, was NYC band Robbers on High Street. Their Brit-influenced sound was cute and all; it just didn’t cut very deep.
Nov. 3 was double-decked as well. Starting at Copper Rocket, I caught the debut of the Slippery Slopes, a new project that includes former Fashion! Fashion! and the Image Boys frontman and incidental nudist Erik Grincewicz and Floridas Dying honcho Rich Evans. Forget what you know about their past work, this band’s different. Take the Rolling Stones, beat ’em over the head with a ball peen hammer, just to the point where it starts to affect motor control, and you’ve got the Slopes, who were as wobbly as they were slippery. And yeah, I liked ’em. Mainly because they were so stupid it was cool. I mean, c’mon, dudes done up in kitty ears and painted whiskers while strutting about with huge punk swagger? Awesome.
Later at the Social was Portland’s Menomena. The rising experimental rock band was possibly the fullest-sounding trio I’ve ever seen, partly because of their looped song structures and partly because each individual member packed loads of talent and efficiency. By the time the third song played, three different guys had already sung lead with competence. They brought their unorthodox sonic profiles to dramatic life with a set that was pregnant with atmosphere.
On paper, Kenna’s amalgam of cheesy dance-pop and majestic indie rock really shouldn’t work. But it mysteriously does on occasion, so I checked him at Club Firestone Oct. 30. Much like his recordings, sometimes the live performance worked and sometimes it didn’t, with the less-pristine live setting obscuring some of the crystalline synths. He wasn’t awful, though.
Then She Wants Revenge played. To be absolutely clear, I came out of curiosity for Kenna – they just happened to be headlining. Regardless, I reached deep down into my soul and clawed at whatever residue of magnanimity might be there. Finding a dirty film under my fingernails, I decided to stick it out. Another tallboy, bartender. Quick, before they get on!
If anyone saw me mumbling to no one, that was me pep-talking myself. That’s because, being both a profane mangling of Joy Division’s aesthetic and a wicked joke on humanity, She Wants Revenge makes me wanna string myself up (insert Ian Curtis joke here). I’ve suffered through their performance a couple times before, but wait, this one showed some new dimension – is that a dash of … Depeche Mode? Revolutionary! Really. Please kill me now.
By the time you read this, I’ll be downtown sucking the marrow out of the Anti-Pop Music Festival. Wanna hear about it secondhand next week or experience it live yourself? Well, that just depends on what sort of person you are, doesn’t email@example.com
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