When I heard about this show, I thought that it sounded like a great idea: a night showcasing up-and-coming bands from Twin Falls. Some readers will know how impressed I've been with some bands from that region, so of course, I was eager to check this out.
Regrettably, attendance for this show was far lower than I or probably anyone else expected. Most likely, this was due to much of its potential audience blowing its wad at last night's show at the Red Room, Neurolux's Valient Thorr show or the VAC's Delicate Steve show. Some folks just gotta work on their stamina, I guess...
First up was Bear Refuge, a punk-folk duo. Look this group up on Facebook and you'll find this self-description: "i play shitty music" [sic]. I'm tempted to let it go at that, but that wouldn't be altogether fair. Their songs weren't without their rhythmic, lyrical and (even though they all repeated the same basic pattern of chord changes over and over) melodic appeal. Still, the hint of smugness that I detected in Ehron Essig's deadpan stage act and snide, whiny, quavery singing got on my nerves. He reminded me of every snotty little brat I've wanted to throttle since kindergarten. In the end, this set got over on the electric guitar player's laconically expressive fills.
Next up was another acoustic-electric duo, Jimithy Feeds. If the guy playing acoustic guitar looks familiar, that's because he played electric guitar in Bear Refuge (apparently, that happens quite a bit among groups in Twin Falls: folks pitch in and help each other out with their respective projects). You could imagine Bear Refuge sounding a bit like this group when it grows up: they had more forthright singing, flashier guitar, more distinctive songwriting. A better sense of humor too: they kicked off their set with a nice deconstruction of the 60's pop chestnut "Barbara Ann."
After Jimothy Feeds came Meth House Party Band, whose set this night was a vast improvement over their Atypical Tuesday performance back in May. Sturdy tunes, funny lyrics, high energy, strong riffs and groove (well, as much as hardcore will allow), impressive guitar noise. "Don't think that our shitty bands are all there is in Twin," their bass player said at one point. "There really are some good bands out there." Some people are just too hard on themselves.
Surf-punk trio Holograms were up next. I held very fond memories of their Atypical Tuesday performance, but that didn't prepare me for the raw power of their set this night. Screeching metal guitar, fierce drumming, winningly harsh vocals. A nice little mosh pit formed during the middle of their set, and not without good reason. RAWK!
Hardcore quartet Bad Carb played next. Their songs suffered a bit in comparison with Holograms', but they still delivered an entertaining set. And boy, did that lead singer have some energy! He hopped down and moshed with the crowd, jumped onto one guy's shoulders and rode piggyback, rolled around onstage, jumped around, headbanged and never stopped singing the whole time. This was doubly impressive when one considered that he'd already played drums for Meth House Party Band and bass for Holograms.
After Bad Carb came CAMP, whose lineup this night included horn player Shane Cox once again and, in a brief cameo, Katie Vant from The Gunfighters. Cox's trumpet and trombone sounded a little out of place early on, but as the set progressed, it started feeling like it had always been there. Cameron Andreas's guitar sounded a little out of tune at a couple points, but that didn't prove too bothersome. Meanwhile, their drumming was as strong as ever, and the bass sounded even more fluid than usual.
Hedtriip closed out the night and sounded as rousing and danceable as ever. I'll take this guy over a DJ any night. Well, except maybe Kathy O (who else would dare follow Black Sabbath with the B-52's?) and Doug Martsch (I never thought I'd live to see a dance floor full of people grooving out to "White Light/White Heat").
You can find info about most of these groups on Facebook.