I came across this show's event page on Neurolux's Facebook profile a week or so ago. Since I didn't know anything about either of the bands, I grew intrigued, but something about the picture of Fang Island made me wary. Three guys standing close together before a black backdrop with ramrod-straight postures, black shirts and a smug, knowing twinkle in their eyes--it all seemed to scream "HIPSTER!" It was only $5, though, and I didn't have anything else to do this night. It helped too that a gentleman whose taste in music I respect sent me an invite.
A little over thirty people were hanging around when I arrived at Neurolux. I parked myself in a booth by the door, read a bit from Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick (pretty good book, by the way) and watched some more folks trickle in.
Zechs Marquise, an instrumental rock group from El Paso, TX, got the evening off to an exhilarating start. You might hear something like this band's music if you took a lotta acid and played (Miles Davis's) Jack Johnson, Electric Ladyland and Superfly all at once while your upstairs neighbor blasted Screaming for Vengeance. Psychedelic, metal-infused guitars and creepy synth textures blended and wrestled with fluid, funky basslines and hyperactive, unyielding drumming. One of these elements would poke its head out at a given moment only to be subsumed by the roiling mass of sound in the next. These guys would've been worth much more than the price of admission by themselves.
After Zechs Marquise came Fang Island, who more than confirmed my admittedly superficial impression of them. If ever music cried out for unicorns that shoot lasers out of their eyes, this stuff did. High fructose, metal-plated riffs, 8-bit synthesizer parts and galloping drums met with studiedly anodyne vocals and purposely inane lyrics. The crowd moved up close to the stage and ate all of this up like a Kraft Single. For my part, as a guy who thinks that Permission to Land is a great album, I found this Rhode Island/Brooklyn-based group's shameless ridonkulousness refreshing. Prolonged exposure, however, might provoke such fury in me that no one sporting a mustache (real or fake) within a 50-mile radius would be safe. Recommended to arty hipster types who love Boston, Journey and REO Speedwagon (you know who you are).
You can find info on both groups on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Allen Ireland and Neurolux for letting me bring my camera in.