Yes Houston Indie kids, this week we will discuss your lack of Metal worthiness but first let’s have a recap of this weekend’s shows eh?
at the Orange Show
Ahhhh, did you smell that too? The animal may have been an unrecognizable blob of fur but the smell was not – that was the smell of fresh roadkill. So, as I walked my way over to the Orange Show, I kissed away any appetite I might have had earlier. Mercifully, I wasn’t really coming down for the loose meat sandwiches or even the fabulous art cars for that matter (don’t get me wrong the art cars were a hoot especially the one that shot the flames 30 yards into the air) but I was here for the music – the cool evening and the art cars were simply a bonus.
Hearts of Animals opened with an excellent set – no surprise there. I hadn’t heard these songs live since the Casiotone show so Friday it was as welcome as the cool breeze blowing that evening. The big kick was hearing that new song that Mlee performed two shows ago enhanced by Cley Miller’s guitar work. The song had previously used that Trio Da Da Da Casio beat but this night Cley took Mlee’s pre-written parts and added his unique style that gave the song this additional level of interplay and warmth that wasn’t there in the previous performance. Cley may not be a shredder but he has a feel for the instrument that is enviable. His contribution here was a testament to that and a great compliment to Mlee’s skills as a writer.
Young Mammals followed with their first set since the Block Party and the band was at its most playful and energetic. They ripped through familiar songs with all the verve you’d expect then, out of nowhere, they threw in two new songs. Both songs were great but the first had an added treat – Mlee Suprean guesting on guitar and lead vocals. The song was great and it was funny how well Mlee and YM meshed. While the music was clearly classic YM, the vocal melody was all Mlee which only highlighted how gifted she is with pulling melodies out of the air. I couldn’t make out her lyrics but it didn’t matter, her voice and phrasing are always a kick. To hear her writing new material is always thrilling and collaborating with YM shows just how nimble she can be. The other new song was also a blast with Iram leading the charge. If a band is defined by their drummer then Iram certainly sets the tone for the band with a scrappy playfulness that is irresistible. At one point, Carlos leaned over to Iram to say something along the lines of “This feels weird.” Iram smiled, leaned over, touched the tip of his drumstick to Carlo’s teeth, gave him a quick flick, and laughed. That jovial gesture pretty much summed up their set.
Wicked Poseur closed the evening and their set also delivered in spades. Arthur Bates was in fine form; he’s the sweetest drunken smart-ass you’ll ever meet. Earlier in the evening, Arthur was rambling and riffing on anything and everything and during the set he was no different causing Chris Cascio to start begging Arthur to “Just Play!” even as he was laughing. All Tom foolery aside, the songs and the two guitar attack was a blast. Earlier this month, Ben Murphy made a point about solid state amps and how tubes may get all the love but anyone with a good ear who knows how to put it to good use can make any amp sing. Even as a devoted fan of tubes, I had to concede his point; he not only won the discussion, he won it decisively. As if to rub my nose in it, Chris, with my most reviled solid state amp (a freaking Peavy), was ripping it up with sounds that couldn’t have been more perfect for the material. It’s funny but for all the electronic aspects of Wicked Poseur, the guitar work is what makes it rip like Led Zeppelin doing Can. Arthur’ vocals were at their brattiest while Chris’ danced, swayed, and moved like his life depended on it. Great band, great songs, and a great performance – pretty par for the evening.
The Jonx, Golden Axe, & Awake
at The Mink Backroom
I have to apologize for missing Awake. Last time I saw them, they played an inspiring set. I wish I could say that I had a damn good reason for shirking my journalistic duties but the truth of the matter is I was drinking whiskey and chilling at a friend’s house and time just kind of got away from me. Chris Gray would later comment that I seemed in good spirits. Yeah, after three glasses of whiskey, I’d better be!
When I arrived, Golden Axe had just started and the crowd was eating it up…well eating it up in the way Houston Indie rock kids do. If you were looking for heavy metal parking lot – this wasn’t that crowd. [See epilogue for a fuller discussion of what I mean.] But all teasing the crowd aside, my favorite thing about Golden Axe is how they take something that is so riddled with clinches and make it work. If you don’t think Metal is capable of intelligence and wit, you clearly have never heard Golden Axe. There is no other band in Houston that can make me laugh out loud without uttering a word. Warren Hatfield and James Love make Metal that’s droll without a hint of a nudge nudge or a wink wink – theirs is a metal guitar led assault that makes no apologies. I grew up with so many amazing metal guitarists who could run circles around most mortals but their Achilles heel was that their compositional skills were never on the same level. Warren has such a sharp sense of composition atop of his fretwork skills that it should make people like Yngwie Malmsteen and their followers hand their heads in shame. Long live the The Axe!
The Jonx closed the night and reminded me just how wonderful a trio they are. The trio plays music like a drunken mathematician raving about a favorite theorem. Yet, for all its mathrock qualities, the Jonx music is never cold – it drips with feeling. Stuart Smith’s guitar is as capable of crunching out dissonance as it is capable of throwing out a lovely melody, Trey Levigne’s bass work is always aggressive and muscular, while Danny Mee’s drumming is ever nimble and powerful. Together they interact in the same manner as one of those Japanese animae robots where various robots combine their powers into one super-robot. Appropriately, all before them were crushed into submission. I’m so glad that Danny Mee’s move to Austin didn’t mean the end of the Jonx.
(Due to the limits of our template’s layout – please, click on image)
Miss coolness herself
They is On Fire!!
gets his Jimmy Page on.
Wow! Tough crowd!
as the Hulk
LINKS & CREDITS:
Bloodstock photo by John Ashby
(Check out his flickr page – amazing stuff)