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Aurora Plastics Co./Harry J. Anslinger/Here Comes Everybody
Room 710 : August 19, 2003

It was a typical Tuesday night experimental battle of the goofy, spacey and sometimes spooky projects purveying their own particular interpretations of the sound of an alien farting in space: the members of the bands were a good half of the crowd, staff included. Too bad, but not unbelievable; this isn’t the type of aural display that tends to draw a crowd. Usually it’s the mentally off that find this kind of thing enjoyable. It also probably helps to be a little tone deaf.

Here Comes Everybody took to the stage and stairwell and began their dementia-inducing squawk and blurt without so much as a “hello”. Consisting of some of the former spastic Devo effigy, the Oblong Boys, these young chaps tore through a set that partially consisted of running around the audience and chatting, and had additional punctuations provided by the audience, provided with a choice of noise-making toys, ala Roland Kirk.

Next Harry J. Anslinger landed to preach his anti-marijuana hate message, this time coming off as a bit more benevolent thanks to the twin space-wave attack of a theremin genius and electronics wizard. The rolling waves of soothing alien atmosphere was driven by a twin drum and twin bass juggernaut, with sparse disjointed melodies supplied by a trumpet and badly in need of repair saxophone.

Aurora Plastics finished off the night with theremin and guitar, threatening to “drive this car into the sun” and outlining the plans for the U.S. invasion of outer space. Who knew?

-A concerned citizen

Steers/Paraphonic Transport/One Version Aversion/My Education
Room 710 : August 20, 2003

Room 710 was a pleasant hodge-podge of sound on Wednesday evening for the second monthly Red River Hump-Day. The Lonestars were frosty and the music was clamorous.
Steers opened the evening with a brand of echoing and distorted noise rock that played like a rapid-fire thunderstorm for the entire set without pause. Bassist and front man Kevin Livesy looked like he might come out of his black Reeboks, as his face cringed in disgust at the small crowd in perfect unison with his low-centered torso, which violently pulsated back and forth across a stage cluttered with varied effect pedals. The three piece was complete with blaring, technical metal drum boosts, haunting keyboard effects and minimalist guitar licks. “It took longer than I expected to get everyone to the other side of the club,’’ said Livesy of the sludge and crunch that made this battery acid noise so great. With few vocals, spastic tempo changes and a deafening tenacity, I could only compare these guys to Big Black or Shellac, which ain’t to shabby for the home team.

Up next was Paraphonic Transport, a spacey, prog-rock four piece with an emotional sounding delivery. The lead singer/keyboard player stood center stage, armed with miscellaneous pedal and effects modifications that made for more than a few thick, harmonious breakdowns that sounded circa twenty years ago. For me, his voice, coupled with the song construction, drew comparisons to Robert Smith. Meanwhile when the guitar player sang lead, the band sounded more modern with a head-bobbing, pop feel. Paraphonic Transport played a short, proficient set, producing a perfect contrast to the hectic sounds of the first band. I thoroughly appreciate that kind of show.

One Version Aversion drove in from San Antonio on a sonic wave. Their brand of moody grooves and borderline psychedelic rock allowed bassist Stephanie Wooten’s vocals to move my brain into an 80’s state of banal abstractness. Their no-wave sound combined coos and ahhs with on time drum speeds and a gritty, rough edge that made the band both sincere and sexy. The resonant, intricate low-end progressions coupled with vocals like “I wish you could be honest with me,’’ reminded me of emo chieftains Sunny Day Real Estate’s earliest recordings. O.V.A definitely gets a thumbs up for indie-rock effort and the perseverance of a sometimes forgotten style of music and thought.

My Education closed the show with a touching, unhurried expansion of euphonious plains that combined keyboards, viola, violin, guitar, bass and drums to create an orchestral army. The seven piece sounded like seventy, as the melancholic ambience captured the crowd at 710 and moved those intoxicated like a puppet master pulling strings. The thick, in-a-trance grooves played like the conclusion of a tear-jerking flick and for me drew comparisons to instrumental kings Godspeed You Black Emperor. One guitar player improvised a bottle of Budweiser for a makeshift slide that tunefully bent the already soulful sound of the entire outfit. Despite the absence of vocals, My Education is the kind of progressive rock that I admire most. These guys made the night at 710 one of complete satisfaction. Hopefully the next Hump Day will be as gratifying. Bravo kids.

-Smitty

Supagroup
Room 710 : August 16, 2003

My first impression of Supagroup, who hail from New Orleans was “AC/DC on coke.” The first song this four-piece outfit launched into was “Rock and Roll Ruined My Life”, a song about how ya got to give up your life to be a rock star. The energy that Supagroup collectively gave off was top notch. Chris Lee, the singer/rhythm guitarist was all about belting out the vocals while his brother Bengi Lee did his best Angus Young impersonation while playing tasty Rock leads and striking Rock poses for Stern’s camera. Supagroups’ rhythm section, consisting of Mike B on drums and a cowboy hatted Swift on bass was solid, keeping the low end and percussive side of the show anchored in bedrock.

I had not seen Supagroup at all before that night but I totally dug ‘em. I sat up in the usually deserted balcony at the back of 710, and I was surprised how good the band sounded up there. I think I might see more shows from that vantage point, but it is always more fun to be in the crowd closer to the stage, so maybe not.

Supagroup played quite a few songs off of their upcoming self-titled CD, including a slower tune called “A Murder, a Suicide and a Death.” It started off kinda ballad like and then picked up the pace and rocked out.

What can I say but Supagroup rocked and you should go see them the next time they roll through town.

-James E

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