Friday, May 24, 2013
The Heligoats and Nathan Norton @ the Crux (5/20/13)
I'd missed the Heligoats at Treefort this year, so when I learned that they'd be coming back, I jumped at the chance to catch them. However, even if they weren't playing, I'd have probably gone to the Crux anyway. Their open mic, which Vagabond Promotions' Keesha Renna organized, has become a regular stop for me on Monday nights when I don't have a show to cover. Some of the regulars have impressed me greatly, and such gigging musicians as Eric Larson and Matt Hopper have stopped in to play sets (I hear that the For Fuck's Sake sets are something to see/hear).
I counted about forty people at the Crux when I arrived. When the Heligoats played, I counted about forty-five. Pretty good for a Monday. Hopefully, this'll keep up after Keesha Renna moves away.
Nathan Norton opened for the Heligoats. Since the open mic serves as a save haven for newcomers, I've resolved not to review the various performers here (though I do take notes on the especially promising ones). I call fair game with this regular, however, since I first encountered him playing bass for the Bare Bones. Besides, between his quick, quasi-rapped vocals, his sharp strumming and his relaxed, friendly stage presence, the man seems ready for prime time. In addition to his tuneful originals about sex, lies, murder, fisting and the Devil, his set featured a mean-spirited rewrite of the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" and a cover of "The Bed Intruder Song" (here's a link for it, in case you don't remember). The latter was so hilarious that it overcame my misgivings over that particular internet phenomenon (the guy's pissed because someone tried to rape his sister, people).
The Heligoats played next. I'd like to see the full band sometime, but Chris Otepka and Anna Arvan managed more than respectably on their own. Otepka's anxious tenor found solace and support in Arvan's sweet, slightly Olive Oyl-ish coo. Similarly, the spruce folk-rock tunes and the confident rhythms helped the lyrics about spiders, eco-horror, shredding the back of your retina and the dark hidden in our hearts go down. Most welcome as well was Otepka's deadpan, cockeyed banter ("I love my Hollywood starlets!"). Not too cute, not too arch, but just right.
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