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Rock Houston Thursday with YKCC & The Manichean [7/31/2009 09:40:00 AM]:
The Manichean

Rock Houston here.

While all the cool kids were at Warehouse Live congratulating themselves (at the Houston Press Music Awards), I was out with the bands like I usually am.  There was a full plate of events Thursday night.  It was as if every band that didn't get nominated decided to play shows. 

I arrived at Rudyard's and had a seat to watch and listen to an up and coming band from Austin, Your Kisses Cause CrashesYKCC plays melodic and melancholic poppy music, along the likes of The Flaming Lips.  As they are working in a couple of new members, they had a "where are we" moment or two, but recovered quickly enough that only a fan would know.  Except for their singer, Andy, they seemed a little shy, but I guess that goes with being the first band of the night in a foreign town.  The also didn't play my favorite song of theirs, but with only 30 minutes to work, that was likely to happen.  YKCC opened the night for 3 other Texas bands.  I was able to stay for Salim Nourallah, a Dallas popster who reminded me a lot of Jeff Tweedy from Wilco.  Salim was endearingly comfortable with the audience, but didn't bring enough tricks to his songs to make him stand out to me.  I was also starting to think about the other band I needed to go down the street and around the corner to see...

So I made my leave of Rudyard's and headed down the street and around the corner to Mango's to see The Manichean (pronounced MAH-nuh-KEE-an).  Mango's was holding a Drag Prom, and I missed out on most of the festivities, as when I arrived, the place was starting to look like the end of a party.  But there were the young men and women of The Manichean (7 of them in all), grabbing their gear and heading for the stage, and they were certainly taking the theme of the party to heart.  Singer, Cory, was sporting a little khaki mini-skirt and guitarist, Justice, was in a white prom dress or was it a wedding gown?!  Bassist, Ashley, was dressed up like a boy in a black dress shirt and slacks with rainbow suspenders to accent her ensemble. Drummer, Dylan had balloons for breasts, and gold shorts reminiscent of Rupaul from the "Loveshack" video, and keyboardist, Austin, wore Pippi Longstocking pigtails.  Tonight's show was going to be even more interesting than usual.

If you haven't experienced The Manichean, I strongly urge that you do.  They have glam rock tendencies, but take a lot of their cues from bands in the "melodramatic popular song" category that must have been invented on myspace a couple of years ago because I'd never heard of it before.  To be more specific, you might think Cursive or Arcade Fire, but more sincere.  Between songs Cory recites spoken word pieces that give the entire show a sense of cinematic continuity that few bands in Houston have.  There's rarely a moment of silence to applaud their efforts.  They also give me a strange sense of "Am I really witnessing this? Why, yes I am!" which on this occasion was doubly compounded by their dress.  Their set built up to the climactic (and my favorite Houston song of the moment) "Lacerus".  After the set was over (and both Dylan and Justice were nearly nude after shedding their drag costumes) I left for home with the singular thought that The Houston Press, for all the good they do with their awards, had overlooked one of the best bands in town in The Manichean.  Well, HP, there's always next year.

The Manichean are playing at Summerfest on August 8 and The Festival at Mink on September 12.  Your Kisses Cause Crashes also return to Houston September 12 to play The Festival at Mink.

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