Austin: Free Week 2009, Day 8

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10 jan. 2009, 8h09m

Entering the second week of Free Week, I had a lot of energy. I am dead tired now, though, so this will be shorter than it deserves.

Got to Mohawk after band practice in time to see some of Many Birthdays. They weren't as good live as I'd hoped, but they were interesting enough to try again. All the free mp3s on their site kind of give notice that they're all over the place and more interested in playing with sound than in crafting the best single. Outside, Moth! Fight!got started before I left, and they were interesting. I *think* the sound wasn't quite right for them, since I could only intelligibly hear one out of four singers. Lots of circus-y stuff, but - rare for me - in a good way.

Ducked out to see what was up at Red 7, but no bands were playing yet so I went on to Emo's where The Teeners were on outside. Quite a few of my friends really like them, but I didn't get anything special out of them. It's sincerely trashy good-time garage punk, played by people who really dig that and aren't fashion victims or poseurs. But the sound was bad (no bass) and the songs weren't much to me. Might be better on a smaller stage. I went back in and watched Che Arthur's first couple songs. He was good, I was skeptical of the Mission of Burma comparison I read somewhere regarding a guy with an acoustic guitar, but I could see it from the second song. Political, personal, and with a lot of dynamics and changes in the song structure.

Back to Red 7 to find Daniel Francis Doyle playing with a full band, just as spastic as his solo show, if not moreso. Not sure what the band was called. Outside something just as irritating was going on called blowupnihilist. This was one guy who had a bunch of hissing, shrieky electronic noise going on, an industrial white noise attack. Not anything I care for, so I got out of Red 7 pretty fast.

I could hear The Laughing playing "Wait Until He Roars" as I walked up to Mohawk, so I walked a couple steps faster and met up with some friends rocking out near the front. I only stayed for three songs tops since I already know The Laughing are great, one of the best rock bands in town. Inside, another band I've seen before and like, Death is not a Joyride, were just getting started and I watched them do their creepy carnival Björk thing very well. The sound and stage weren't as good for them as Emo's Lounge, but the packed room was a distinct improvement.

Went straight next door to see if I could catch Cry Blood Apache or Weird Weeds, but Club DeVille was already on their last band, La Snacks. An enjoyable Pavement-type indie band, but nothing got me particularly excited. I rushed back to Red 7 to make sure I didn't miss my friend's band Rat King. They hadn't started yet, so I watched Daniel Francis Doyle finish a solo set (pretty demanding from a guy who plays drums with such high energy) and then waited for Rat King to go. They're just starting out, but damn, they convinced me. I'm not much of a hardcore/thrash fan, but a mosh formed during the first song and they really owned the stage. It even sounded pretty good to me, the songs had depth and movement that I usually can't pick up on in that kind of music. Left after not long though, back to Emo's to make sure I didn't miss This Horn of Afrika.

They hadn't started yet, so I went outside and saw a couple tunes from Hacienda. They seemed like another band trying to do the 60s pop thing but coming off more modern. This time the band sounded a bit like Tom Petty, still classic, but not really British Invasion. The couple songs I heard were pretty memorable, and they played three without stopping the beat between songs. Obviously a skilled band, they're probably worth checking out if I'm in the mood for that kind of music again. After a couple songs, I went back inside and This Horn of Afrika was just starting from a drone. How to begin?... They were easily the most technically innovative band I've seen, using analog controls (guitars and drumsticks) to control heavily processed noise (a dozen pedals on the guitars and a drum/sample machine) to create dance music stripped of all signifiers except the backbeat. It's kind of like they took Out Hud another step further into the abstract, or made Liars' Mt. Heart Attack get crunk. It was dark on stage and the music matched it, intense and tribal but totally foreign at the same time. If they added catchy synth lines and/or a diva vocalist over the foundation, they would already be selling thousands of records, but they thankfully are not doing that and are pursuing something that's obviously a unique vision. I might compare them to Gang Gang Dance, but GGD is more of a gypsy-DIY group, retro like the Star Wars cantina band. This Horn Of Afrika is a new breed.

I left with a friend, but couldn't handle seeing any more music that night, a little bit from being tired but mostly because nothing felt right after THOAfrika. Amazing stuff...

Friday Rankings
1. This Horn Of Afrika
2. The Laughing
3. Rat King
4. Death Is Not A Joyride
5. Many Birthdays
6. Moth! Fight!
7. Hacienda
8. Daniel Francis Doyle (solo)
9. Che Arthur
10. La Snacks
11. The Teeners
12. Daniel Francis Doyle (with band)
13. Blowupnihilist

Commentaires

  • elovesbarn-e

    Friday's Rankings: Is that list in order from least favorite to most bad-ass? Blowupnihilist is absolutely amazing. Cheers!

    11 jan. 2009, 17h31m
  • kcasplund

    Were you the photographer there? He had a good show to look at, but I generally want bass to overpower white noise, whether in drone, industrial or whatever. Cheers back to you, thanks for the comment.

    11 jan. 2009, 19h47m
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