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Free Week 2011 – Monday

01/04/2011

the lone out-of-town band struggles to fire up the guitar amp. at least we got to hear "Wouldn't It Be Nice" twice.

Tenement seemed to share my experience tonight.  Excited to go but things just not working out as great as hoped.  My pace was not the same as Red River’s tonight, I spent at least as much time walking or waiting for bands to set up as I did actually listening to music.  Need to adjust my strategy and zero in on a few shows tomorrow night, see if that works better.

I went straight to Emo’s as none of the other clubs seemed ready to go.  Women In Prison cancelled their show on the inside stage, so that room wasn’t started yet either, but I went outside and saw the High Watt Crucifixers – listed as the second band – already in the middle of their set.  They were playing some solid metal, the kind I’m going to call ITM (Intelligent Thrash Music) for awhile.  There was a really cool 11/4 breakdown in the first song I saw, and all of their songs went through several rhythmic changes, but I was dying to hear something less crunchy after not very long.  Went inside and chatted for awhile waiting for the Uppers to get started.  And when they finally did they were fun punk rock music, but I felt like I’d been at Emo’s too long and decided to see if I could get to Mohawk for Shitty Carwash.

Mohawk Fail #1.  Shitty Carwash was packing up, so I left and checked 7th Street.  San Antonio’s Deer Vibes was playing at Beauty Bar, fun instrumental dance music, very happy and poppy like The Octopus Project or El Ten Eleven.  With horns.  Both guitarists and the bassist used finger-tapping techniques at times, they were all excellent players and built up some happy jams reminiscent of Stereolab, or maybe Pell Mell.

Deer Vibes at Beauty Bar

Went to Red 7 and found Bike Problems playing outside.  Got to enjoy their reckless tales of danger on bicycles over fairly sloppy pop-punk music for the first time.  They did a cover of Descendents’ “Silly Girl” too, something to remember them by and make sure I see them again.

Bike Problems plays "Silly Girl"

Love At 20 played inside at Red 7 when I was finished with Bike Problems, but they just didn’t sound interesting to me.  Seemed like a classic modern rock Music Lab/Craigslist band, though for all I know they’re childhood friends.  Went back to Mohawk to see Naw Dude (I think) but ran into Mohawk Fail #2, as the band was just leaving the stage.  Dammit.  Walked to Emo’s and saw Tia Carrera starting up their show outside, and just didn’t have the endurance tonight.  The bass drum was hitting every beat and putting me in a sleepy trance, even though everything else was muscular and rocking, especially the drums.  When I walked inside, Tenement looked ready to go onstage, but evidently had problems with their gear.  Twenty minutes of listening to Beach Boys hits later, they finally figured out whatever it was and started up.  High energy punk rock show, but I was dragging pretty bad by this point.  Checked outside before I left, and Eagle Claw was just starting their set.  More ITM, their opening song flowed from one section to the next really well, but I only had the energy for that first song.  Finally caught some music at Mohawk, got to see the last three or four songs of Hatred Surge‘s set.  They were definitely my favorite heavy band of the night, short thrashy songs with some beautiful feedback in the short breaks between songs.  Solid throaty yelling too.  Headed home to write this and sleep instead of see Wild America’s last show because I suck.  The day one blues…

EDIT: I forgot to mention that I saw One Hundred Flowers too.  I spent too much time trying to retrace my steps, will focus on the bands from here on out.  Anyway, if you like the twee side of indie-pop, you need to listen to One Hundred Flowers immediately.  They have all the ingredients, ba-ba background female vocalists/keyboardists, a sensitive cardigan-wearing lead vocalist and an agile band that can light up a pop song as well as mope through a sentimental tune.  I played with Amber from this band in another group, Darling New Neighbors, and can vouch for her skill on a trumpet as well as her singing and tickling of the keys.

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