Thursday, June 20, 2013
Slam Dunk, Radar Brothers and Ola Podrida @ Neurolux (6/18/13)
I didn't get to see Slam Dunk at Treefort this year; I saw Grandparents instead (but I SHOULD have seen YACHT). Anyway, this show caught my interest because it gave me a chance to check them out. It didn't hurt either that I'd never seen Radar Brothers or Ola Podrida before.
I counted about thirty people when I got to Neurolux. When Slam Dunk played, I counted a little over fifty people watching. A very good audience for a Tuesday.
Ola Podrida opened the show. This Austin band made me think of different bands at different points--maybe some R.E.M. or early Built to Spill here, maybe some Sleepy Seeds or Wilco there. Which, I guess, indicates how much I liked them. Jangling, misty guitars and smooth, steady rhythms carried David Wingo's breathy tenor along. The touches of howling distortion helped keep the dreamy tunes from floating off into the ether. Very cool.
Radar Brothers played next. There's a thin line between dreamy and sleep-inducing. With their ambling, stately tempos, their unwavering drones and their light, subdued vocals, this Independence, CA group might have wandered a bit too far on the latter side of that line. Those drones were still plenty tuneful, however, and their synth buzzes and squiggles added a neat pinch of new wave to their straight-ahead indie-rock. The lyrics that I caught were intriguing too ("You don't love me, so you don't pay me anymore. / You won't hide me, you won't pay me to clean your floor.").
Slam Dunk closed out the show. These Victoria, BC guys and gal kept you awake, that's for sure: swinging, muscular drums, honking sax, charmingly caterwauling vocals. Something about their hodgepodge of punk, surf, doo-wop and who knows what else nagged at me, however. It wasn't sofistimacated enough to be called postmodern; instead of Derrida-obsessed caffeine junkies, this group called to mind bright adolescents who'd had too much sugar or gone off their ADHD meds. Which, I guess, is just a pretentious way of saying that their music felt a bit too scattered and miscellaneous. Still, their high energy and good cheer were impossible to dislike. Call them Scarf with better chops and better tunes, maybe.
In any case, the rest of the audience didn't seem to share my quibbles. It only took two songs to get people moving, and the dance floor stayed bubbling for the rest of the set. When Slam Dunk started setting down their instruments, the calls for an encore were so loud that they didn't even bother with the ritual of stepping offstage, waiting and then coming back up.
You can find info on these acts on Facebook and elsewhere online. Special thanks to Eric Gilbert and Radio Boise. 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 could go a long way.