Dang, that was a good one. Seriously -- I haven't seen a show as flat-out, nonstop, good as this past Friday's Wild Moccasins CD release show with Buxton & Teenage Kicks in quite a while. There'll hopefully be a full rundown at some point soon, but I had a blast & wanted to post a bit about it myself.
I finally had a chance to try out my new camera, by the way, a cheap-yet-effective Canon PowerShot A1000 IS to replace my crap-ass HP camera from last Christmas -- after fighting the damn thing for a full year, I have to say that it's fairly understandable why HP no longer even makes the fuckers. Ah, how nice to have a digital camera once again that will fire a flash when I actually want it to... I'll stick some of the better pics I got from the show in here, but if anybody wants to check out the whole pile, you can see 'em here.
When I got to Walter's, I honestly thought I was early, and really, I was -- none of the bands had played yet, there was still a big pile of pizza boxes, & people coming in were still getting free Wild Moccasins discs. Even still, the place was fucking packed. Really, really, really packed, so much so that I had to park six blocks or so away, three streets south of Washington. What the hell? Walter's is never, ever, ever that crowded, not for a show with only local bands; not trying to impugn the quality of our fine, fine local musicians, mind you (if that were the case, I probably wouldn't even by typing this right now), but I generally only see crowds like that when big-name indie bands play the place.
In the end, the show sold out completely. Which was great news for the bands, particularly CD-releasers the Wild Mocs, but surely a disappointment to latecomers; when I stepped outside to meet up with a friend, there were cars pulling up at the curb nearly nonstop and whisking bummed scenester kids off to who-knows-where.
The insane turnout, I have to say, was well-deserved. It was a bona fide party, complete with faux-prom decorations, free pizza, t-shirts silkscreened for free, free CDs (I missed out on the Homopolice CD-Rs of Wild Moccasins covers, sadly), and grinning kids galore. As for the bands, if I had to pick the three tightest, most energetic, most mesmerizing bands in town right now -- in any musical genre -- I'd be hard-pressed to pick three better ones.
Good God, do these guys rule. And not just on Friday night, but pretty much all the time. I envy how effortlessly they spit out these songs that sound like they should be sung with a British accent and get introduced by John Peel; the songs are sharp and concise and head-nod-inducing catchy, and the lyrics are smart as hell, dragging pop music back to when people with brains actually did stuff like this and sang about things other than getting chicks and "come on, yeah, come on." I mean, seriously -- how many genuinely catchy, punkish pop songs get written about genocide? More people really, really, really need to hear this band.
Plus, they're all really sweet guys -- got to chat a bit with bassist Stewart Kicks & drummer/singer John Baldwin before the show, the two of 'em apparently envious of my Sharon Jones t-shirt, and they were very cool, friendly folks.
I don't know how they do it, but the Buxton guys get tighter and more focused every freakin' time I see 'em. They looked more serious this time out than the last time I saw 'em, all boozy and grinning at the last Westfest, but apparently they weren't nervous at all, just kicking into their cool, unique variety of countrified pop-rock. Sergio Trevino was cool and calm onstage, clean-shaven and relatively mellow (the parts I saw, anyway), while guitarist Jason Willis kept doing this craaaaaazy elephant-like head-swing thing that made me smile.
I had to head outside partway through to try to get SCR cohort Russell inside, in spite of the sold-out-ness of the show -- I couldn't weasel him in, myself, but luckily Brandon from Co-Pilot, an all-round cool guy, was able to sweet-talk the door folks (thanks! I owe you a beer, dude...) -- so I didn't catch all of Buxton's set, but what I did see was damn good.
After the first two bands, I honestly didn't figure there'd be much chance the Moccasins -- though the technical headliners -- would top the Teenage Kicks/Buxton one-two punch. I'd never seen the Wild Moccasins play, so while I truly love their brand-new CDEP, Microscopic Metronomes, I really wasn't sure what to expect.
Two words: holy shit. Those kids are freakin' incredible. They're young, yes, young enough to make me feel like Creepy Old Dude staring at the kids, but their ease and energy onstage belies the age. They played Friday night like it was their last. Show. Ever. And it fucking worked.
Each song blazed fast & furious, the band speeding through its sweetly-sung, catchy/cute indie-pop opuses, and the band was, for forty-five minutes or so, The Best Band In the Universe. Guitarist/singer Cody Swann and bassist Nick Cody worked up a sweat over on their side of the stage, while lead guitarist Andrew Lee played it cool, riffing effortlessly over on his end. In the center, keyboardist/singer Zahira Gutierrez sang sweetly and danced in place, and drummer Andrew Ortiz stepped to the top of my personal list of the most awe-inspiring drummers in this city.
By the time the band finished, they had a couple dozen people with them up on the stage, all dancing in a euphoric haze and smiling wide. Somebody from the side of the stage had released a couple of garbage bags' worth of balloons, which the audience still on the ground had pounced on gleefully, either punching 'em up into the air or popping them in their hands. When the Moccasins stepped off the stage to the strains of (I think?) Starship's "We Built This City" -- thankyew, joint DJs ADR & BDM -- the room felt less like a crowd of hipsters & kids and more like some kind of cheery gathering of friends, all having a hell of a time together. Good shit.
In the midst of all the show-going, I ran into a small herd of cool musician-y folks and got to chat quite a bit about upcoming stuff from a bunch of bands. Tidbits to follow...
Teenage Kicks: Yep, they've been keeping busy; not only is their long-delayed 7" (originally due out last fall, apparently) coming out really, really soon, but the band's been hard at work on a new full-length (woo-hoo!). Looking forward to it...
Buxton: Bassist Chris Wise told me the new Buxton disc is well underway, slater for release hopefully sometime in April, and they're going to be putting out a 7" between now & then.
Talked for quite a while w/Marcus Gausepohl from Esotype Recs, and they've got some cool plans for 2009, particularly a joint Esotype/Mia Kat Empire showcase up in Austin for SXSW. Gonna be nice.
listenlisten: Ran into Ben Godfrey of listenlisten by accident, just turning around & seeing him standing, beaming, right behind me. Talk turned to the band stuff, since his bandmate Shane Patrick sent me tracks a few days back for the new listenlisten album, Hymns from Rhodesia -- the album's due out in March.
Had a ball talking to people, definitely -- on top of everybody else, I finally got to meet Jeoaf from The Monocles in-person, hung out w/Brandon Lemons from Co-Pilot & Ramon Medina in his new post-Free Press state, & got to talk to SCR writerly-type folk Russell Swensen & Brandon Hernsberger (sorry the chat was so brief, Brandon!). Gonna have to get out again soon, I swear...
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