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Rewind - The Mathletes Vs. Houston Record release at Fitzgeralds 08/13/2011

Submitted by RamonLP4 on August 15, 2011 – 10:00 amNo Comment
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The Mathletes

Saturday night had some pretty decent options.  Bummerfest looked like a hoot but I ended up deciding to go to Fitz for the Mathletes album release just because, as it should be apparent from my two-part interview last week with Joe Mathlete, I’m pretty enamoured by the new album, Excalibur.  I got there pretty early just after the doors opened and found these two guys in the back…

Preparing for a second night at Fitz!

I was sitting back, talking with a few people about stuff like how B L A C K I EE’s amp caught fire at Friday night’s show and these two dudes just sat there with their head on that table for at least 30 minutes.  When they walked by I said, “Man, you dudes don’t look to good.”

“Oh, uhhh.  It’s our second night at Fitz.  We were here last night.”

AWESOME!  Now that is dedication! 

FISHBOY

Round 1 - Fishboy Vs. Kanye West. Kanye, a no show.

Can your keyboardist do THIS?

First up was Denton’s Fishboy.  Fun, quirky indie pop with a vocalist who sings with this nerdy nasally voice.  The thing that stunned me is how, despite the fun upbeat songs, nobody was dancing.  That’s OK, the keyboardist made up for everyones chill.  Someone called them, in a complimentary tone, Joe Mathlete Junior.  I think that is a pretty apt comparison given the songs about robots and goofy stuff like that, plus the bassist liked like the son of Alan Moore and Jaron Lanier which is a pretty awesome look.  The band’s set, being billed at Fishboy VS. Kanye West,  also had the best running joke of the evening:

“ Ladies and Gentlemen, Kanye West.  Ummm, Kanye West….where’s Kanye?”

“Oh he said he’s running late.”

Of course Kanye never showed and his spokespeople never replied to our request for an explanation.  I think we know who won that showdown.

WHIT STRIPS

Jack Vs. Meg... errr Chris Cascio VS Hearts of Animals (Mlee Marie)

OK it was more Chris vs his effects, vs his cables, vs the microphone....

The Whit Strips (the Chris Cascio & Mlee Marie White Stripes cover band) was billed as a Chris Cascio Vs. Hearts of Animals but it was more Chris Cascio vs. the world.  The set was pretty awesome ( I mean c’mon it’s a whole set of awesome White Stripes tunes) and Mlee’s drums sounded like John Bonham heavy (kudos to the sound lady on emphasizing the kick drum) but the show was dominated by Chris’s bratty stage persona.  Watch as Chris gets flustered with his cables.  Oh my god, is that Mic stand too loose?  What will he do?  Why is the world against him?  Marvel as Mlee keeps a steady beat to try to get Chris back on track.  It’s pretty bratty stuff that I find hilarious.  Some small little detail that nobody would else even care about and Chris just goes into his best early career Nicholas Cage freak out.  I know this was just a small part of the entire set but all I am saying someone should collect these and release a compilation of Chris stage freaks out and contact Ecstatic Peace to release it.  It would be awesome like that Venom 7″ they put out years ago with all the stage banter of “YOU GUYS ARE WILD! WIIIILD!!!” except it would be two sides of all “UGH!”, “STUPID CABLES!”, ”GAAAAAHHHH!’, and the like. Just sayin’.

 WIGGINS VS. B L A C K I E

I will defeat you B L A C K I E

Wiggins, I will fuck your shit up!

Foolish B L A C K I E, I have Giant Princess under my control! Colin Dispose of him!

NOOOO!!!!!

B L A C K I E is free! Rise my friends! Defeat the Wiggins!

You won this round B L A C K I E, but I'll be back! Bwahaha!

OK, maybe it didn’t go down like that but it was a pretty awesome Vs. set with Wiggin’s fucked up crazy indie pop vs. the balls-out aggression of B L A C K I E.  At one point I said, “Man, can’t Michael show some mercy to John and just take it down a notch.  It just doesn’t feel fair.”

“I’ve known him since the third grade; he can never take anything down a notch but I think John can hold his own.”

 Tru dat and sure enough John did.  In fact the juxtaposition of the two sets perfectly complimented each other with this push of B L A C K I E and the pull of the Wiggins going back and forth, giving each a dynamic that neither would normally have alone.  Winner of this round, the audience.

GIANT PRINCESS VS. BABYSHOWERS

Giant Princess - never has there been a truer slacker band

Babyshowers of awesome indie rock.

Giant Princess seconds before they exploded on stage.

Babyshower/Woozy Helmet's Jay Crossley - too much man for just one band.

The next Vs. was pretty awesome.  Giant Princess was in fine form and and Jay Crossley’s newest project Babyshowers was rip-roarin good. Unfortunately, it was here that I realized that I had the wrong (smaller) SD card in my camera and I was maxed out on pics.  So I spent most of this set, deleting pictures to make space on the card and then, trying to figure out where I misplaced my phone.  

HE THAT WILL NOT BE NAMED

KTRU to the Rescue!!!!

Wasting the Giant Princess/Babyshowers set with my camera and my phone issues was made even more lame because the next set was….well let’s just not name names and say that it was obviously something that was going for the “so bad, it’s great” aesthetic but just stayed in the bad and never changed course for the entire set.    It was one of those sets where you felt you were “on the clock” as a music writer.  At one point, though, I realized it wasn’t going to get any better - it was just going to be bad, and stay bad.  It was the kind of bad that is so bad that it hurts your feelings.  It’s the kind of bad that makes you count every second of your life being stolen.  If you could imagine Hell’s worst community theatre troupe, they would be entirely watchable in comparison to this.  It’s the kind of bad that leaves you like a deer int he headlights until you remember you have the free will to just walk away from it all and escape to the KTRU DJ’s upstairs.   Thank you KTRU!

THE MATHLETES

Joe Mathlete getting all rock and roll!

Sheri Jennings, Joe Mathletes newest Mathletic foil.

It's not a Mathletes show without a gaggle of people on stage.

Goodnight Mathletes, you done good.

The Mathletes closed out pretty damn well. Playing as a four piece for half and an expanded six-piece for the second half, the band tore through material from the new album as well as older material.  Old songs like Pinnochiobot were a gas to hear and the band played it like they were on fire but I have to admit, I always think that song benefitted best from the crazy Mathletes “orchestra” days; back when Joe had a full on horn section to really drive that riff home.  Yet, I found myself driving home humming “Da    DaDa   DaDaDaDaDa   Da   Dee  Da” so don’t take that as anything more than a minor quibble.  Kudos to Joe’s newest female foil, Sheri Jennings, who’s keyboards and vocals really were a perfect compliment to Joe’s.  Also, Mlee Marie’s contributions on vocals (the excellent “I’ll be your shoe”), keyboards, sax, and guitar couldn’t be ignored.  I’ve always liked the fact that Joe has always been smart enough to have strong women musicians in the Mathletes and generous enough to not hog the spotlight.  That is way cool in my book.  The set closed with my favorite of the album, “Elephants and Hummingbirds” and with its upbeat melody, heartfelt lyrics, and the band at full force, it was a great way to end the evening.  Well done Mathletes.  Well done Joe.

(You can see more pictures from the show here.)

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