Monday, December 31, 2012

Teens, Gayze, Art Fad and Deaf Kid @ the Red Room (12/29/12)

This show excited me because it gave me an opportunity to check out Gayze, a new project by local band Teens and Texas group the Rich Hands.  It also gave me the chance to see Teens again and (I hoped) get a better sense of their music.  Maybe their equipment wouldn't keep screwing up this time around, I thought.  At least the elevated stage would probably keep the crowd from crashing into them.

I counted thirty people when I arrived at the Red Room.  At least another twenty would brave the snow by the time that the show began.  Hipsters showing some heart--gives a cranky, snotty bastard hope for the future.

Deaf Kid kicked off the night.  Maybe it was just a matter of different sound systems, but this group sounded much edgier here than they did at the Flying M a few weeks back.  Their sunny guitars had a nice extra bit of distortion to them, and Matt Stone's drums sounded in especially strong form.  Their gliding groove got the crowd nodding to the beat and standing on chairs to get a look at the stage.

Art Fad played next.  Their grungy riffs, pummeling drums and snarled vocals incited the audience to do some friendly moshing.  Theo Maughan's raw bellow sounded good and fierce, and Jacob Milburn drummed with an admirable amount of energy for a guy who'd already performed three sets this night (he played a house show before coming here).  While it might have been nice if I could have parsed some more of their lyrics, their increasingly muscular sound signified maturity and articulation enough for now.

Up next was Gayze, whose lineup this night consisted entirely of Idaho dudes (including Jacob Milburn on drums).  Their blend of surf, garage and shoegaze wasn't spectacular, but it certainly wasn't bad.  The audience didn't seem to have any complaints either: they grooved out plenty to the dreamy tunes, intertwining guitars, pounding drums and weird-ass synthesizer noises.  My only real complaint is that they could've turned down the smoke machine a little: it grew so thick that I started getting a headache and couldn't see the projections on the screen behind them.

I will admit, though, that it did look pretty cool.

Teens closed out the night with a set that was blessedly free of their Manor show's technical difficulties.  With all the kinks worked out and all systems go, did this garage-rock group live up to the hype surrounding them?  Frankly, no--I can think of at least fifteen local bands right now who sing better, write better and play better.  More than many of the mid-to-late-60's emulators/imitators that I've heard this year, however, this band seems to honestly partake of the slovenly, freewheeling, joyous spirit that we've come to associate with Haight-Ashbury, Woodstock, etc (this wasn't just a matter of the psychedelic lines, shapes and colors flashing on the screen behind them either).  Ultimately, that spirit put their caterwauling vocals, twangy guitars and tidy little tunes across.  These guys came off as so open and friendly onstage that I couldn't begrudge them their ecstatic reception from the crowd (jumping, shouting, screaming).  They ain't no Soft White Sixties (or Bare Bones or Marshall Poole), but I'll take them over the Shivas.

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

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