Live: The Wild Moccasins/Roky Moon and BOLT/Giant Princess

WALTER’S ON WASHINGTON — 5/21/2010: One of the best things about going to a Wild Moccasins concert is the audience.

Their signature sugary-but-feisty sound and friendly stage presence have gained them quite an impressive following among Houstonites, and that following was out in full force on Friday night for an important day in Wild Moccasins history: the release of their first full-length album, Skin Collision Past.

Long before doors opened, a crowd of eager regulars had formed in the Walter’s parking lot. When doors were opened (a full 50 minutes after they were scheduled to, in typical Walter’s style), the fidgety, dancy teenagers were the first to surge in and gasp at the stage. The Wild Moccasins had created an elaborate backdrop of eyeballs and balloons, along with the letters “WM” suspended above the stage, coated in silver glitter. The usually dark and nondescript Walter’s looked like it had been transported to the set of a kid’s TV show.

Giant Princess, the first opening band and another local favorite, put on a loud and intense set that successfully turned the front half of the crowd into a roiling, jumping mass of teenage energy. By the third song, the heat was stifling, and some dancers were showing signs of exhaustion. But Giant Princess, who were also celebrating the release of their new EP, Mexican Easter, stayed highly energetic throughout the set. They played a mix of old and new material, with new songs “Gun Play” and “I’m Gonna Live and You’re Gonna Die” standing out.

Next up was Roky Moon and BOLT, who know a thing or two about energy themselves. Their powerful musical-esque glam-rock seems too big and dramatic for today’s minimalist indie-rock bands, and it sets them way apart from the crowd. Consequently, some of the audience was enthralled, while some just didn’t seem to get it.

Personally, I thought they were great; they’ve got an original idea and a big stage presence that demands attention. Halfway through the set, singer Roky Moon announced that they were working on a rock opera, and would we like to hear some of it? Regardless of how anyone responded, we heard some of it. Think of Tommy meets Rocky Horror Picture Show, and you’ve got an idea of what it sounds like. Big, bold classic-rock guitar and narrative lyrics about the “Man Who Couldn’t Save the World.” Something to hold a lighter up to, if you’re into that kind of thing.

As they were setting up, it became obvious that the Wild Moccasins were going all out for this one — singer Zahira Gutierrez was decked out with a homemade faux-flower skirt and a tear of rhinestones on her cheek, and guitarist Andrew Lee was showing some serious leg. Grinning ear to ear, the notoriously cute group greeted and thanked the audience while taking the stage.

They kicked off the set with the title track of the new album, “Skin Collision Past.” Tight, fast guitar riffs and, of course, the impossibly sweet harmonies of singers Cody Swann and Zahira, got the somewhat exhausted audience moving again. Always enthusiastic, the Moccasins danced and frolicked on stage, radiating joy and young energy.

Young and cute as they might be, though, the Wild Moccasins have matured. It’s impossible to ignore how much better of a show they put on now than when Microscopic Metronomes, their first EP, was released. All their hard work became evident Friday night, when they played both new and old material expertly and cheerfully.

They played almost the whole of Skin Collision Past, as well as old favorites like “My Favorites Die” and “Fruit Tea.” As is their custom, Zahira and Cody thanked the audience breathlessly and profusely after each song. The biggest reward for the audience, though, came at the end of the night, when the Moccasins invited everyone on stage while they played “Late Night Television,” which seems to be the big hit from the new album.

With dozens of ecstatic and glitter-covered fans crowded onto the stage dancing and tossing balloons, it felt like a birthday party with your closest friends. Although some critics think they’re just a cute and poppy flash in the pan, the Wild Moccasins have worked hard to become the darlings of the Houston music scene, and it seems unlikely that they’re going to slip below the radar anytime soon.

Photos by J. Hart

Live review by . Live review posted Sunday, June 20th, 2010. Filed under Features, Live Reviews.

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One Response to “Live: The Wild Moccasins/Roky Moon and BOLT/Giant Princess”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Tonight: The Wild Moccasins Tour Kickoff (Reviewed!) + Muhammad Ali + Spain Colored Orange + The Watermarks + More on November 14th, 2011 at 9:12 am

    […] shows, of course, are always pretty amazing in themselves — check out writer Robin B.‘s nice writeup of the band’s CD release a while back for evidence of that. And as an added bonus, tonight’s show also includes […]

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