Friday, June 1, 2012

Teton Avenue, Art Fad, A Sense of Porpoise and A Seasonal Disguise @ the Red Room (5/31/12)

This has been a busy week for me.  I've gone to a show every night starting on Monday (including Jonathan Richman at Neurolux on Wednesday--I'll get my post on that one out soon), and the next three days each have shows that I'm eager to check out.  There's a lot more cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks too.  Geez.  I may need to find a job just to take a break.

Financial constraints persuaded me to pass on seeing Austin Lucas play the Shredder this night.  That doesn't bother me too much; I imagine that he'll come back around sometime soon (he's played here at least once before).  Besides, I was happy for the chance to check out Art Fad and A Seasonal Disguise again.

First up this night at the Red Room was Teton Avenue, a very young (16-17 years old, Wes Malvini told me) five-man band from Caldwell.  These guys looked pretty nervous and sounded pretty ragged, but there was still more than enough in their music to make me feel bad about how little I've done with my life so far: arrangements with some savvy, lyrics with some bite, guitars with some sting, basslines with some flourish, drumming with some dynamite.  Very promising.

Art Fad took the stage after Teton Avenue.  After seeing them a second time, I'm fairly confident that nearly everything that Jacob Milburn and Theo Maughan say through their faux-Cockney sneers is straight-up gibberish.  I did catch one coherent lyric, though: "You're a c*** and I f***ing hate you."  They didn't mean that, and they didn't mean it when they said that their first song was about getting high on bath salts and eating someone's face off.  All the same, these utterances helped me figure out what this Caldwell group's sound and fury truly signify: they're a distillation of the transgressive thrill that suburban adolescents get from listening to (and, sometimes, making) punk rock, no less and no more.  Don't get me wrong--punk sympathizer (and former suburban adolescent) that I am, I still like Art Fad just fine.  I'll like them more, however, when/if they actually find something to say.

After Art Fad came A Sense of Porpoise, a group from Boulder, CO whose folky take on punk (or vice versa) seemed to take a page from the Mekons' playbook.  Jaunty tunes, jokey lyrics, shrewdly guileless singing, buzzsaw guitar, non-bluegrass banjo, Maureen Tucker-ish drumming.  Cute stuff, but not so much so to give me a tummyache.  I gave them bonus points for being the only band that I can recall to pass through these parts with a theremin player.

A Seasonal Disguise closed out the night.  They didn't come off nearly as cute or awkward as I remembered them being at Treefort.  In fact, between their rock-steady rhythm section, their fetching melodies and harmonies, their clarinet and keyboard hooks and their lyrical guitar solos, I'm now tempted to think of them as After the Gold Rush to Range Life's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.  The rapport between the five band-members seemed to have doubled in strength and assurance, and their instrumental passages called to mind Television's eccentric, romantic wonder.

You can find info about all these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.

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