Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Emmure + Kill Your Friends Club + Omotai + Harold Borup + Los Skarnales + Mikey & The Drags + More

fddf2e4bcb5b3b65432cce335f23865cYes, folks, it’s now Friday, January 11th, and against all odds, the weekend is indeed upon us. And yes, there’s plenty happening, and a lot of it’s good, especially this evening. Here’s what sounds/looks cool to me:

Emmure/Whitechapel/Unearth/Obey The Brave/The Plot In You @ Fitzgerald’s
I’ll freely admit that NY-based deathcore outfit Emmure isn’t for everybody. The band plays a skull-crushing, detuned breed of metal that’s less guitars-bass-drums and more a solid mass of stomping, crunching rhythm with frontman Frankie Palmieri‘s vocals thrown on top. At points on 2011’s excellent Speaker of the Dead — which the band followed up this year with almost-as-good Slave to the Game — you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a band of Sentinel-sized robots making music by bashing cars together.

And yet, it works. How, I’m not entirely sure, but it does. “Solar Flare Homicide” came up on my iPod while I was slogging my way out of the hardest part of the Grand Canyon trek my dad, brothers, and I undertook this past spring, and I was able to just get lost in that crunching, thundering sound and let it move my feet up and up and up, one in front of the other. phew.

Ex-Girlfriends/Key Bumpz/Midwives/Kill Your Friends Club/Latin Amore and the Heartbreakers/Swervy and the Nutsacks @ The Big Top
Hey, you know all those punk bands you like? Like, say, Something Fierce, Psychic Palms, The Busy Kids, and Cop Warmth? Well, they all have other bands, too, and tonight they’re rolling out every damn one of ’em, it feels like, and while I can’t speak for you, hell, I’m psyched.

No idea at all what any of these folks sound like, mind you, but the pedigrees alone are promising. Kill Your Friends Club is a two-person deal by Niki Sevven from Something Fierce/etc. and her beau Matt Hall; Key Bumpz is members of Psychic Palms; The Ex-Girlfriends is Anna Garza of The Busy Kids, plus members of Talk Sick Brats & The Vipers; Midwives is members of Noguey & Cop Warmth; and Latin Amore and The Heartbreakers features members of Stay at Home Mom, COMExCLEAN, & The Vipers. Holy hot damn. Roll the dice, people.

18122_276159459173856_1539155371_nThe Band That Controls Your Drugs/Peloton/Harold Borup (final show)/Omotai/Marshall Walker @ Walter’s ($5)
And speaking of bands you — well, I, at least — like, while I’m not familiar with the headliners here, the folks in the middle are pretty uniformly badass. Omotai, in particular, has surged towards the top of my Favorite Bands of All Time list, and new album Terrestrial Grief has essentially cemented their position there, even as it sees the band shifting into a more noisy/less doomy direction. Fans of Neurosis, you need to pay attention, seriously. (And yes, I could listen to “Spanish Constellations” all freaking day. Don’t tempt me.)

Then there’s Peloton (which, incidentally, shares bassist Melissa Lonchambon Ryan with Omotai), who snarl and swing and seem to revel in the ear-mashing noise their making, although it sounds damn cool and is weirdly addictive at the same time. They’re like a less-friendly Archers of Loaf, wielding noise and dissonance like a hammer but grinning while they do it.

And sadly, this show also marks the last hurrah of Alvin-bred band Harold Borup, a band I never got to actually see or hear in person. Which sucks, because what I’ve been able to hear online was intriguing, in an oddball, post-rock kind of way. Dang. Hopefully they’re all moving on to other bands, right?

Los Skarnales/Jungle Rockers/Mikey & The Drags/Little Joe Washington @ The Continental Club
Nice, nice, nice. I’m always, always happy as hell to see Los Skarnales, obviously, having been a fan of those guys way back when they were first around, but damn, it’s even better when they’re doing that Latin ska-punk-soul thing alongside similarly cool people. Granted, Mikey & The Drags are a far, far different band, but hell, they’re still freaking cool, mining ’60s garage-rock and punk to make something that sounds like The Sonics through three or four distortion pedals or a more throwback version of H-town compadres Born Liars. Go rip the walls down.

Runners-Up:
B.B. King @ House of Blues
The Reptilian/Innards/Sohns/football etc. @ Skramansion
Talk Sick Brats/The Freakouts/Modern Kicks/Born Liars @ Mango’s ($7)
Down/Warbeast/Honky @ Warehouse Live
Always Guilty/Fuska/Viet Ruse @ White Swan Live
Finding Reason/NEONFACE/Morgue City @ Rudyard’s
The Grizzly Band/The Dead Rabbits/Skeleton Dick/The Medicine Years @ The Scout Bar (Clear Lake)


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