Live: An American Fang Kind of Night
Photo by Jeremy Hart.
FITZGERALD'S -- 5/8/2009: So it was Friday night and two of my favorite bands were playing at Fitzgerald's. The Vettes, a pop rock group out of New Orleans with a really great retro-synth-'80s feel, and the bad boys of Houston's underground, American Fangs.
Now don't get me wrong, there were other notables there as well -- the last place you look, Female Demand, and Mothers Anthem, among others -- but The Vettes and American Fangs were who I was there to see. The night started for me as any Fitz night does; I sauntered up to the bar for a "nightcap," if you will, and then I power-hiked between the downstairs lounge and the upstairs main stage to overload on as much live music as possible.
Every American Fangs show I've ever been to has been, as I like to say, "off da hook." I've had necklaces obliterated, clothes torn off in the catacombs of their mosh pit, been climbed on and have climbed upon, screamed at the top of my lungs, jumped till my head bounced off the ceiling, been inundated by the sweat of frenetic bodies pounding with the raw awesomeness of the music's energy, and inevitably wound up in a bro-hug with a fellow reveler, united by the sheer weight and excitement of what we had just been a part of. And at Fitz, even though the crowd was just filling in, I could already feel the excitement building for what was to come.
Photo by Jeremy Hart.
I spotted singer/frontman Gus over by the merch table and interrupted a conversation he was having with an inquisitive young female -- I guess those are the demands of being in a successful band. I bought a DVD which included their 6-song self-titled EP and the music video for "Le Kick," a fist-pumping, head-pounding anthem. Gus coyly admitted they used the DVD as their electronic press kit, so I was essentially buying a promo item that they generally give away for free, but I couldn't hate. Again: I guess those are the demands of being in a working band.
Just as The 71's were taking the stage, I had to run upstairs because The Vettes were starting their set. The Vettes consists of brothers Chad, Todd, Brian, and Mitch, and the band is fronted by their sis, Rachel Vette. Rachel is a stunning conglomeration of talent and glam, a woman who looks like she just stepped out of a Hollywood billboard rather than my own hometown of New Orleans.
The last time they played here, one of my friends drunkenly blurted out for her to take off her clothes. I guess even in Houston, New Orleans is never far away. She handled it gracefully, and I leaned in and told my friend that those four dudes glaring at him from the stage are her brothers. Needless to say, the show was killer. This time around, the band also didn't disappoint. They played songs off their debut EP T.V., which is in radio rotation across the country and has also been featured on MTV's Making the Band 4, The MTV Music Awards, and the upcoming film Final Destination 4. They even played songs from their as-yet-unrecorded album, which Rachel told me they were planning to take a break in touring to record.
Photo by Jeremy Hart.
After I had basked in pop/New Wave/alternative rock glory, I returned downstairs to see that the place had exploded. The downstairs lounge was packed! I almost couldn't believe it; I wasn't even gone that long. I had to squeeze and pry my way to as close to the front as I could, where the mayhem of an American Fangs show was erupting once again. Jumping and sweating as they rolled through several songs off their EP, including my personal favorite, "Duke," they also played quite a few new songs that I hadn't heard before. I can only surmise that these songs might be material from their upcoming debut album.
It wasn't long before the crowd was alive. People were jumping, singing, and moving, and the sweat was pouring. As they launched into their final song, most of the mosh pit was on stage with them, swathed in full-volume glory. I was immersed in it all, on cloud nine, once again hugging some stranger basking in musical love.
The next night, they played a sold out show at The Varsity Theory in Baton Rouge with Theory of a Deadman -- the word was that it'd be their last show for a while, as they headed into the studio to record their first full-length album. Then, one day soon, American Fang mayhem will roll again. END