Friday, May 24, 2013

Couches, Naked Apes and Teton Avenue @ the Flying M Concert-Garage (5/21/13)

This show caught my attention because it featured Couches, a San Francisco group whose Treefort set I'd missed.  They'd played the previous night with Red Hands Black Feet at the Red Room.  I chose to cover this one instead, however, because 1) I didn't want to miss the Heligoats, 2) I can't write about EVERY goddamn Red Hands Black Feet show, and 3) part of me worried that not many folks would show up.

Being right really does suck sometimes.  I counted seven people when I got to the Flying M.  When Couches played, I counted twelve, most of them members of the other bands.  Oh well.  At least the Shivas' Radio Boise Tuesday show seemed well-attended (judging from the crapload of people I saw out on the patio when I walked by Neurolux later that night).

Teton Avenue opened the show.  In my last write-up on this band, I wrote that they "made me think a little of what the Strokes might sound like if they weren't a bunch of spoiled rich boys."  Their lead singer seemed to have taken that comment to heart: with his shades, his coolly bored demeanor and his talk of "my guitarist" and "my bassist" [italics mine], the guy was the very picture of an a**hole rock frontman.  Thankfully, he joked around enough with his bandmates to show that he didn't take that stuff too seriously.  In any case, their propulsive rhythms, catchy tunes and fluid solos sounded even better than they did at the Torn ACLs show.  They still have some rough edges--a false start here, an unconfident vocal there--but overall, they're coming along nicely.

Naked Apes played next.  Speaking of coming along nicely, this duo may have played their best set yet (that I've seen, anyway).  They slipped around on the beat some, and while Gabe Arellano's low-string riffs do what they can, the bottom end of their sound could use a little filling in.  All the same, their raw vocals, fuzzy guitar and rumbling drums proved immensely enjoyable.  This was especially true in the case of the lumbering, mid-tempo numbers at the end of their set, which also featured some ominous, spacey distortion.  Also, I could hear the lyrics pretty well this time around (not bad, from what I caught).

Couches closed out the night.  Between their tight groove, their smooth tempo shifts and their pleasantly plain vocals, these guys called to mind a less eccentric Built to Spill.  Mike Dubuque's clipped, smartly restrained drumming and Chris Griley's sly basslines provided a sturdy platform for Dave Mitchell's jangling, clanging riffs and terse, tuneful solos.  I warmed to this group quickly, but their love song to California clinched it.  The stuff about dreamers, peace of mind and talking about outer space wasn't bad either, especially since it came with such pretty melodies.  I also appreciated the energy that they put into their performance in spite of the meager crowd.  As for Mitchell's Giants cap, hey, I can respect hometown pride (the Dodgers will rise again, I can feel it...).

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Nathan Walker and the Flying M.  If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the yellow "Give" button and donate whatever you can.  Even $5 would help.

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