Yes Indeed! 2013 Rundown, Pt. 1: The Wheel Workers + Knights of the Fire Kingdom + Dadsmom + Purple + Sunrise and Ammunition + The Beans + A Sundae Drive
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, see, there’s this cool-ass “mini”-music festival coming up this Saturday, September 14th. It’s called Yes Indeed! 2013, and it’ll unfurl itself up in the ungentrified pseudo-wilds of the warehouse district on the northeastern edge of Downtown, spanning three venues: Last Concert Cafe, House of Creeps, & The Doctor’s Office. The fun starts around 3PM and goes ’til whenever in the early AM they start kicking people out.
And yes, as previously mentioned, there’re some very cool people playing throughout the day. So I figured we’d do kinda-sorta like we’ve done these past few years for the Free Press Summer Festival and SXSW Overflow Fest (and sometimes the Houston Press Music Awards, although I’ve blown it bad the past couple of years by being out of town for that one), and do a little preview of a randomly-selected pile of bands playing at Yes Indeed! this year. We’ve only got a little while ’til the thing happens, it’s true, so we’ll see how many we get through, alright?
Here goes the first batch (and keep in mind that the times and venues may change between now & Saturday):
The Wheel Workers
While I’ll admit to being a little uncertain about The Wheel Workers at first listen, Stephen Higginbotham and his merry band of sly-grinning indie-rockers have won me over, well and truly. At this point, they’re almost like the model of the perfect indie band, at least to me — they’re insanely smart, they write and play music that’s gorgeous and ridiculously catchy at the same time, they’re politically minded without taking themselves too seriously, and above all, they’re the nicest freaking people ever.
I happen to agree with ’em a lot of the time politically, it’s true, but even if you think climate change is a hoax and that Monsanto is the best corporation ever, I defy you to not grin and bob your head along to the deceptively jaunty, sunshiny “Chemicals”. Or the arena-sized pro-gay-rights anthem “Rainbows,” or, hell, “Starve the Beast,” which really should be the theme song of some Occupy group somewhere.
Seriously, this is the kind of band where I honestly, truly think anybody could (and should) find something to love, especially on their most recent album, this past spring’s Past to Present. Take a listen below…
[The Wheel Workers play at 9PM at the Last Concert Cafe.]
Knights of the Fire Kingdom
It’s kind of funny that the two bands Random.org threw up first out of the list of nearly 30 people playing are probably the two I’ve written the most about already in this blog… What can I say? Unlike with the Workers, above, the very first time I ever heard the Knights of the Fire Kingdom, I was floored immediately. The thundering, stomping drums, the raw, driving guitars, those snarling, howling, spit-in-your-face vocals; I couldn’t get enough of it. The Knights take every bit of guitar-heavy rawk I’ve ever heard, throw it in a blender, and then force you to drink what comes out, and it’s flat-out awesome. Think Drive Like Jehu, think Rocket From The Crypt, think Mudhoney, think the New Bomb Turks, think Arcwelder, think Young Widows, think Obits…you get the idea.
It helps, of course, that KOTFK are a local punk/indie supergroup of sorts (although they’d probably cringe at the label), bringing together past members of a half-dozen beloved H-town-area bands, including Roky Moon & BOLT!, The Monocles, Hollywood Black, and Hardin Store Road, to form a Voltron of guitar-rock awesomeness. And hey, festival organizer Jason Smith interviewed the dudes in the band recently; check it out right here. While you’re reading, listen to “Chinese Dragon,” off the band’s only 7″, below.
[Knights of the Fire Kingdom play at 10:30PM at The Doctor’s Office.]
And now, to go 180, here’s a band I know nothing about. Which, truthfully, is completely cool by me. I mean, that’s a large part of why I run this site, after all: to find out about and listen to bands I might not’ve heard otherwise. And Yes Indeed! organizers Jason and Bassman Pep (aka Phil Peterson, who runs a booking group called AR*V Presents) are often listening to bands that I haven’t heard yet, even around here; they’re damn cool that way.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand, which is two-man band Dadsmom, which was apparently formed by Jacob Rodriguez and Peewee Ruiz, who were previously in New Orleans/Houston group Handsomebeast (who I’ve also never heard, at least not as far as I can remember) and who’re a late addition to this Saturday’s lineup, replacing Don’t Poke The Bear. At first blush, they make me think of fellow drums-and-guitars duo Female Demand (R.I.P.), because both bands kind of crawl inside a song and just bash around with hammers ’til the whole thing breaks. Dadsmom are noisy and messy and quasi-psychedelic, but even still, they know how to make things roll, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Their Supersonic Improvibility EP rides the line between noise-rock and funk, and that’s a territory far too few bands even try to live in.
[Dadsmom play at 5:30PM at The Doctor’s Office.]
I’ve only seen Beaumont trio Purple once, sadly, and then only sideways from the far left of a blocked-off stage. That brief glimpse, however, left me reeling and wondering what the hell had hit me; the band was loud and heavy and wide-open, with guitarists Taylor Busby and Tyler Smith careening drunkenly around the stage while drummer/vocalist Hanna Brewer howled and crooned and obliterated her drum kit. And yeah, it was great.
Musically speaking, they make me think of that time back in the grunge-y ’90s before all the indie-rock rules got set in cement, back when you could be loud and sloppy and intelligent all at once and nobody sneered at you because, hey, who cared anyway? There’s a heavy resemblance to L7 or Babes in Toyland, to my ears, but with a rough-around-the-edges Sebadoh tinge to it and a need to party the hell down. Go join ’em.
[Purple plays at 11:30PM at The Doctor’s Office.]
Sunrise and Ammunition
Alright, prog heads: this one’s for you. They may only be three guys, but Tyler Saucier, Chris Branton, and Chris Richardson of Sunrise and Ammunition play like they’re an armada of alien ships cruising at FTL speeds from some distant galaxy out in the Horologium Supercluster, coming to bombard the Earth with waves of massive, technical, yet space-y sound. They play tunes that are insanely tight and complex, spiraling in and around inside your skull while you gaze in wonderment.
And okay, maybe that’s not for everybody, but I’m honestly not big on prog-rock in general, and I freaking love these guys. They dwell in this odd-yet-cool nether realm that’s equidistant from Scale The Summit’s landscape-sized instro-metal, The Secret Machines’ spaceward-bound guitar-rock, and OK Computer-period Radiohead. It’s great, great stuff, smart and sharp-edged but never pedantic or boring like some stuff like this can get (I’m thinking the vocals help, at least in my case). Take a listen to their name-your-own-price debut full-length, Tesseract, right below this little writeup, if you want to hear for yourself.
[Sunrise and Ammunition plays at 6:30PM at The Doctor’s Office.]
Okay, so The Beans are one of those bands that I’ve meant to see/hear live for a long, long, long damn time, and yet…it’s just never worked out, y’know? Something always comes up, somebody else is always playing, certain short people who live in my house refuse to fend for themselves for a few hours, you know how it goes. This time, though, I’m sincerely hoping to rectify the situation, because dangit, I really do want to see what these guys are like live.
I’ve been able to hear some more of the Bellaire-bred four-piece’s recorded output, at least, and the more I hear, the more I like ’em. They’re bluesy and gritty and downhome in a way that’s refreshingly not folky at all, but rather closer kin to blues revivalists like The Black Keys or The Kills, albeit with more grime on the strings than either of those bands tend to have. Singer/guitarist Sam Griffin‘s voice is raw and scratched-up, but that roughness only adds to the band’s charm, making ’em come off as a scuffed-up, imperfect, doing-what-they-can, real-live band.
[The Beans play at 10PM at the Last Concert Cafe.]
A Sundae Drive
There’re a ton of genuinely nice, cool, friendly people in the scene here in our fair city — it’s one of the things I love about it here, really, that very few people I meet are pretentious asshats. Out of that bunch of nice folks, however, the guys and girl in A Sundae Drive probably take the prize for being the out-and-out nicest, humblest, most self-effacing musicians I’ve run across.
Which, really, kind of makes me shake my head and laugh, because along with being extremely nice, they also happen to be extremely talented. On debut EP You’re Gonna Get Me, they play an awesome woozy, hazy, low-key breed of indie-pop that smiles and headbobs right along with you, gently drawing in influences/sounds like Teenage Fanclub, The Beatles, matt pond PA, Yo La Tengo, Superchunk, and the wholly-underrated Meryll. The end result is something that’s friendly, warm, and engaging as all hell, the kind of music that lingers in your brain for days and weeks after you heard it last.
Live, they make it work amazingly well, too — I’d been a little nervous, given the aforementioned low-key-ness, but it turns out I didn’t need to worry one damn bit. The band cranked up those guitars and just rocked the hell out with big, serene smiles on their faces, seemingly as happy to be up there playing as those of us in the audience were to be seeing ’em.
[A Sundae Drive plays at 5:45PM at the Houston House of Creeps.]
Alright, that’s what I’ve got for now; more to come, don’t worry. In the meantime, buy your tickets to this shindig now and save a few bucks, eh?