Saturday, July 14, 2012

Doom Ghost, The Rich Hands, The Mallard and Teens @ the Manor; Project 213 @ the Red Room (7/10/12)

This last Tuesday, an opportunity came along that relieved me of my usual dilemma over whether to check out Neurolux's Radio Boise show or the Red Room's Atypical Tuesday show: I got a chance to see up-and-coming local band Teens at the well-respected Caldwell house venue, the Manor.

This was my first show at the Manor, and unfortunately, it may prove my last.  From what I've heard, the folks there may discontinue having bands play due to multiple noise complaints.  That'd be a shame, but I'm glad I got to see at least one show.

I'll say one thing: if I do get to see some more shows there, I'll make sure to bring my earplugs every time.

Texas-based punk trio Doom Ghost got the evening off to a good start with some rough, catchy tunes.  Sturdy drumming, thick-as-mud bass, some solid guitar riffs and solos.  The smoke in the air (created by a machine) made it look like people were steaming from the energy in the room.  Pretty cool.

Next up was another group from Texas, four-man garage/punk band The Rich Hands.  They knocked the energy level up a few more notches with some strong melodies, stomping drums, buoyant bass, twangy riffs and scorching solos.  They sounded like the Beatles one minute, the Troggs the next and the Who after that.  Raucous, caterwauling, grand fun.  The playful moshing during the set generated a tremendous amount of body heat.  Thankfully, everyone seemed to have remembered to wear their deodorant.

After The Rich Hands came San Francisco-based quartet The Mallard.  At first, their jerky beat, their machine-gun drumming, their stolid basslines, their screeching, droning guitars and their moaning, echoey vocals made me think of a variety of bands--Gang of Four, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, maybe some early Joy Division, White Light/White Heat-period Velvet Underground.  After listening to one roiling, hypnotic song after the next, however, I eventually just gave up the comparison game and immersed in the sound.  This was the most intense set of the night, and believe me, that's saying something.  I hope that I get to see this group again.

The momentum of the Mallard's set stumbled at a couple of points from audience members crashing into them by accident.  The downside of playing a house show, I guess.  On the upside, it gave the band's leader, Greer McGettrick, the chance to bounce around with the crowd during the finale while singing and playing the tamborine.  The latter balanced out the former, I figured.

When Teens played their set, though, the scale tipped the other way.  In one regard, I found Teens' set refreshing: it was the closest I'd come in a good long while to witnessing an unmitigated disaster.  The band might have spent more time tuning than playing (they apologized for that), and they barely managed to get through one song at a time.  Meanwhile, the audience got so frenzied that someone apparently got injured: I saw one guy go into a nearby room and roll around on the floor while clutching the back of his head.  That cast a severe pall over the rest of the show for me.  I will say, though, that Teens did enough this night to justify some of the hype around them.  I could tell that the rapport between the four bandmates was rock-solid, and some of their songs had the simple inevitability of classics.  Hopefully, I'll get to see them sometime when everything's clicking.

After Teens wrapped, I drove back to Boise.  I got down to the Red Room in time to catch the tail end of Project 213's set.  This local one-man act's quirky, humorous, polyrhythmic music provided a nice, mellow finish to my night.  Jared Hallock crafted layers of beats and hooks through some deft vibraphone playing and some skillful looping of kazoo, recorders and finger-snaps.  The what-the? spoken word sections made me think of The Finer Points of Sadism gone easy listening, but hey, that's what the situation called for somehow.

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

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