A $1 cover charge, 2 for 1 drink specials, three Idaho bands that I hadn't seen before and one of my favorite local bands? How could I not go see this?
Tuesday night's show at the Red Room was the second of what I hope will prove a long-running series called A Typical Tuesday. It's organized by Evil Wine, a gleefully vulgar and subversive local internet/video comedy show. I was disappointed to find that two of the advertised acts, Badcarb and A Seasonal Disguise, would not play this night (I was especially eager to try to wrap my head around ASD another time, having fallen hard for Z.V. House's other band, Like A Rocket). So it goes, I guess. I can't complain too much, considering that I got to see four fair-to-great bands for $1.
First up was the Hand, a local band who played their debut gig just last week at the first A Typical Tuesday and features Evil Wine co-host Dustin Jones on bass. You know a band's good when the audience applauds after their soundcheck. These guys combined the best of the Stooges of Fun House with the best of the Nirvana of Bleach. Scott Schmaljohn complimented his unvarnished, Cobain-esque howl with some blistering guitar solos that would've made Ron Asheton proud. Jones's rumbling, elastic bass and Andrew Viken's energetic drumming kept the tank moving forward and made sure that it demolished everything in its path.
Next up was a.k.a. Belle. The band was clearly in a good mood as they sipped whiskey and traded banter between flawlessly performed songs. Their casually confident set went a long way toward confirming two suspicions that I've held for a while: 1) that this is one of the best bands in town and 2) that Catherine Merrick is the greatest singer in town.
After a.k.a. Belle came Holograms, a surf-punk power trio from Twin Falls, ID. I kinda wonder if coming from such a predominantly land-locked area added an extra level of aggression and drive to their music. In any case, their sharp riffs and grooves and harsh, ironic vocals struck just the right balance of tight and ragged.
Closing out the night's music was Meth House Party Band, another Twin Falls punk power trio. I don't mean to put them down too hard when I say that the best thing about them was their name. Their sludgy hardcore was decent enough to warrant the playful moshing that some members of the crowd engaged in, but I couldn't really hear much to differentiate them from a truckload of other Black Flag and Germs descendants. Still, I found signs of promise in some solid guitar work and their Fear cover, and the band's set as a whole got over on their evident delight in being young and able to make all this racket.
You can find info about Evil Wine, a.k.a. Belle and Meth House Party Band on Facebook. And if you'd like to check out Evil Wine's show, go to www.evilwine.com.