Peeps! Heat! Sweat! Dancing! Great Music! Mystery Beer! Awesomeness!
Chris Gray was going on a while ago about alternative venues and I have to say that a sweaty hot warehouse is a nice change of pace from the usual club de rigeur. I have to admit that I had a little problem finding 2220 Commerce so I went across the street where there was a hardcore show to ask and they really nice and pointed me in the right direction.* Once I found the warehouse entrance there outside were the Wild Moccasins, Elaine Greer and Austin Lloyd, John Sears, Tom Martinez (Tontons), Carlos Sanchez (Young Mammals), Joe Mathlete, and…well let’s just say it was a party – an over by curfew party! Hell even 21-year-old Carlos Sanchez said “Am I the only one who feels old here?” Right Carlos! Not that anyone paid him any mind because the moon was full, the night cool, and the Astros even throw in some fireworks for good measure – good omens all.
The Eastern Sea started the evening with a sweet set. I really loved their set at Walters a few weeks ago. They are clearly having a ball making music and that enthusiasm carried through both performances. The songs are sharp and clever folky pop with great harmonies and some nice guitar work. The only thing is, this was a warehouse party and as such, you weren’t going to get the nuanced mix that Terry gave them at Walter’s a few weeks back so I felt that some of what makes them great was lost (particularly the harmonies). Regardless of any limitations, the music carried though to the point where people were swaying to the music and enjoying it and that is all that matters. I’ll say this about the Eastern Sea. I’ve heard a few tracks on myspace of their EP but there is something restrained in those recordings and what is missing is the playful energy and joy of their live performances. Perhaps that’s asking for a lot out of a recording but a band as good as the Eastern Sea deserves a recording that captures the energy of their music living and breathing in front of you. All of this is just a long way of saying that I really get a kick out of the Eastern Sea and hope they make their way down to Houston more often.
Next up was, yeah, you guessed it, The Wild Moccasins. Yes, I may have to purposefully have a Wild Moccasins review blackout because this is getting ridiculous. But it’s so hard to do because they are so much fun. Friday they were as great as ever and they even threw us a few curve balls with a secret weapon – the dude! Yes, to the left sat a guy with a black garbage bag whose job it was to toss out what looked like sealed pastries and balloons. Now that’s a freaking special effect! Balloons above a crowd are the great equalizer! Even the biggest thuggiest tough guy will invariably smile and bounce it back in the air. Sure, it’s silly and childish but you know what? That’s OK. It’s not dark or ironic, or heavy – it’s fun. Fun is OK folks! And fun music doesn’t mean it’s vacuous or cookie cutter fluff. There is craft and care put into what the Moccasins do. If you abhor the Moccasins or my “Mickey Mouse” taste in music that’s fine. I’ll tell you what;you keep going to “adult” rock shows and I’ll keep hopping and singing the Wee Ooo Eee Ooos with Joe Mathlete on Fruit Tea.
Last up was The Riff Tiffs. I’ll make a confession, I didn’t particularly get into the Riff Tiff’s album Afflictinnittus. To me, it sounded pretty but something just seemed to be missing. I could never put my finger on it so I shrugged off seeing them until this show. The thing is, like the Eastern Sea, the Riff Tiffs are a better band than their studio work would suggest. The Riff Tiffs are all about the sonics they produce live and Afflictinnittus just misses it totally. Live it’s this big wave of notes that ebb softly then build into a tsunami of sound – I’m talking brilliant dynamics. Compare that expansive sound to the recordings and the band in the recordings sounds isolated from each other and compressed. Capturing the energy and force of their live show is what some engineer needs to capture – anything less and they fail. So what I’m saying is nice set guys.
Attention Eastern Sea!
We give-in to your cuteness!
YES! Pale sweaty shirtless dudes!
Eastern Sea Hotness!
The Moccasins are the party!!!
state of the art light show!!
If you read Hands Up Houston this week you likely saw this:
“I don’t like the local kiddie indie pop bands or freak folk bands that are now all the rage. They need to go join the Mickey Mouse Club on the Disney channel. Usually any band that Ramon LP4 jerks-off about every time he posts I know not to listen to.”
Andrew, of course, dressed appropriately.
Some bands spend millions on lights, props, and sets.
Fuck that! The Wild Moccasins
just had this dude toss out pastries and balloons!
Neil Diamond “Hot August Night” FAIL!
More pictures on my Flickr (Link)
*Andrew Ortiz later ran me a breakdown of who was playing and it sounded like a pretty sweet bill. So hey hardcore promoters you need to give me a heads up; we love the hardcore too.