Transport/One Version Aversion/My Education
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
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.
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.
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.