SXSW Overflow 2014: Day Five (Bam Bam and the Gigolos, Even The Dogs, Redrick Sultan, All Eyes West, & Vandella)

alleyeswest1Here we are again, folks, for Day Five of SXSW Overflow Fest 2014 up in the scruffy edge of Downtown where Super Happy Fun Land lives. Tonight — Thursday, March 13th, if you don’t have a calendar handy — is looking a little lighter than the previous nights, but there’s still a fair number of folks on the bill; it’ll just start at 9PM or so this evening, as opposed to 5PM on the earlier evenings.

Here’s tonight’s pile:

BAM BAM AND THE GIGOLOS: First up is Waukesha’s Bam Bam and The Gigolos…um, maybe. I hedge because while I’m seeing the Wisconsinites up on the FB event invite, they’re not on the official-shmofficial SHFL schedule. Which is a little surprising, because Bam Bam & company definitely have the show listed on their FB page (as well as a date tomorrow night at the D & W Lounge).

Me, I’m hoping they do get to play tonight, because I’ve been liking the band’s midtempo, punkish story-rock (what I’ve been able to find of it, at least); they’re pretty straightforwardly ’90s-ish and guitar-heavy. Take a listen to what I’ve been able to find:

 

EVEN THE DOGS: Second(?) on the bill is Tulsa band Even The Dogs, who are rough-voiced, crunchy-guitar-filled, Serious-with-a-capital-S alt-metal, and man, they are nothing if not fortunate… They apparently blew out a tire today even before leaving Oklahoma and had just about given up and gone home, until a kindly tire shop owner offered them the loan of his own vehicle to make their journey down south. Holy crap, y’all; that’s pretty awesome. Hats off to you, Kellogg’s Tires of Okmulgee, OK.

For Even the Dogs’ part, they’re not bad, with some heavy metalcore influences and a nice resemblance to Killswitch Engage at the more operatic-sounding choruses. There are relatively few bands out there that can mix the metalcore growl with actual singing, but these guys make it work, and that’s pretty damn great. Take a listen:

 

REDRICK SULTAN: Then we’re onto Redrick Sultan, a trio of smiling, seemingly kinda hippified dudes from Vancouver who have ventured way, way, way down here from the Pacific Northwest to gently jangle and shake their way through some semi-trippy, hazy, shambling psych-folk tracks that bring to mind bands from the ’60s more than anything else (even with a bit of a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flair, incorporating a flute and an oud into the mix).

Oh, and no, “Redrick Sultan”‘s not a person but a band, as seems to be getting more and more common these days. They also apparently used to be a metal band long, long ago, which is hard to imagine given their current patchouli-soaked sound. Here’s their current Redrick Sultan EP:


 

ALL EYES WEST: Okay, now this is more like it (for me, anyway). Chicagoans All Eyes West worship devoutly at the church of Hüsker Dü and Jawbreaker, and y’know what? So the fuck do I, people. So I’m finding myself head-bobbing along fiercely as the three-man crew blazes along, sounding like the love children of the aforementioned bands but maybe with Knapsack and Samiam thrown into the mess for extra bitterness (the vocals, in particular, make me really think of Samiam’s Jason Beebout). It’s loud and raw but melodic and catchy beyond belief, dragging you (er, me) straight back to that heady indie-rock heyday in the mid-’90s.

The band’s most recent release isn’t all that recent, honestly; it’s a split-7″ from back in 2012 (with Break Anchor), but for our purposes here, I think it makes more sense to point you to their most “recent” full-length, the 2011 release All Eyes West:


 

VANDELLA: We end tonight on a bit of a gentler note, with San Francisco’s Vandella, who rely less on guitar bombast and shredded throats and more on a soulful, countrified, Southern-tinged voice (courtesy of singer Tracey Holland) and bluesy, jaunty guitars, and a seeming love of the sounds of yesteryear. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really, but this band’s got a hold of me good, keeping my feet tapping and head bobbing along as I listen.

They’re rootsy, definitely, but beyond that they’ve almost got an out-of-time feel to ’em, like a barroom band from some never-happened watering hole back in the ’50s where cowboys and dudes in sharp suits came together to drink in equal measure. Naturally, there’s a pretty close resemblance to fellow Californians Dawes, but that’s hardly anything to complain about; if you’re at all into the current crop of California-Americana bands out there, give these folks a listen:


 

Annnnnd that’s it for the moment, y’all. More to come…

[Photo: All Eyes West.]


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