From Waveland / The Swells
Hole in the Wall, Sun. Nov. 16th
It was the first of the now monthly Free for All at the Hole
in the Wall, and, unfortunately, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s
at Emo’s had an obvious effect on the size of the crowd.
The bar was nowhere near capacity, but those in attendance
were given a treat in the form of Seattle’s Hello From
Waveland. A four piece utilizing standard gtr/gtr/bss/drm
set-up (with an obligatory synth thrown in for good measure),
HFW tore through a set of quirky pop tunes, narrowly skirting
cliché and sailing the tasteful edge of indie rock.
Live, they come off somewhere between the whimsy of the Soft
Boys and the spastic bite of the late, lamented Brainiac.
Plus, these guys brought along a $3, 4-song tour-only CD e.p.,
giving the newly converted an affordable souvenir and leaving
this writer enough money to drink whiskey like they were about
to stop distilling it. I didn’t feel a thing when I
wiped out on my bike on the way home. Groovy.
The Swells were the only other band on the bill (Paul Minor
suffered a death in the family and, therefore, Superego were
persona non grata), and, while the crowd definitely enjoyed
HFW, it was readily apparent whom they were here to see. The
Swells were most assuredly good, but after the attack of HFW
(complete with invented Hole in the Wall stories, some less
fantastic than true Hole stories), the twangy Strokes impression
rendered by the local boys came off as simply contrived and
Haynes and His Problem
stage was set: the screens were hung, Gibbytronix sat center
stage waiting to loop and churn. The scene was like the calm
before a Surfers show, all these inanimate concert fittings
that somehow come alive when the Texas terror takes the stage.
When Gibby and His Problem took the stage there was a melodrama.
Like pretendika: it smells good and all the crystals and hairs
are there, but the bud packs no punch.
Gibby has a new rock band. The confusion was that it came
packaged as a Buttholes show. (And it looked good like a Buttholes
show.) The music was more like the later rock songs of the
Butthole’s from Electric Larryland. Or the ambient spaces
that the Weird Revolution CD gave us. It was quintessential
Austin rock. No envelope to lick or even press.
line up was two guitars, drums and Gibby. Occasionally, Nathan
Calhoun would pick up a bass and lock solid into the twin
iMac computer-generated beats. I think the computer music
made the music seem artificial, as if we were listening to
drafts of what Gibby did at home to teach the band later.
There was certainly no lack of professionalism here.
repeating loop ran throughout the whole set saying, “I
need some help”. There were songs which rocked Roky
Erickson style with the Gibby croon in full effect. Most of
the set had the thump of an AC/DC 4/4-rock beat, which really
left Gibby and his voice to do the original stuff. The vocals
tended to be more on the balladeer side of singing. A particular
Pink Floyd styled jam with nice organ fills stuck way out
of the set. Other stuff compelled me to write “Midnight
Oil rock” in my show notes.
left feeling great that I saw Gibby sing, but let down by
the music’s overall regularity.
The show raised the question: Would I have stayed if it wasn’t
Gibby singing? Or better yet, would I throw a beer bottle
at it if it were Ian Moore up there?
Trio/Reggie and the Full Effect
La Zona Rosa
Reggie and the Full Effect serves up a musical monstrosity
of cheap, choppy crap to disenchanted youths. I only wish
I had arrived forty-five minutes later, so as not to be annihilated
by this fiendish group of musical miscreants. Not only did
these diabolical demons sound terrible, but they also looked
twenty times as bad as they sounded, if that is even possible.
Oh, you missed this show? Well, just imagine someone you never
want to see in bikini underwear running around the stage covered
in blood, sporting devil horns, and yes, in bikini underwear.
Everyone I know was screaming to be released from this brazen
Alkaline Trio fully made up for having to sit through what
seemed like an eternity of frightfully appalling tunes by
executing an array of extremely exemplary, moving songs. Lead
singer Matt Skiba sings as if his lungs and his head are going
to explode with utter emotional brutality and spew out into
the crowd, drowning them in a villainous nightmare of hidden
sentimentality. The best part of their performance, the song
“Queen of Pain,” really illustrates the existence
of this band. This band makes a song with the lyrics, “Like
vampire bats deprived of blood into the New York City night
we crawl” seem romantic. Yet, some how these guys pull
it off with a peculiar characteristics that are all their
own. They blend dark, gothic imagery with fun-loving harmonies.
Alkaline Trio produces an energetic sound mingled with emotional
trauma and furnishes the audience with an ironic blend of
the tragic and jubilant. And yes, sometimes it even conjures
up bizarre romantic compassion and suicidal tendencies.
Sons of Hercules/The Ugly Beats
Casino El Camino Anniversary Party
So how did some guys from upstate New York end up running
the coolest bar on Sixth Street for the past nine years? Aside
from the deliciously exclusive Canadian beer (meant to be
consumed ice-cold), they’ve piled up numerous Chronicle
Best-of Awards for jukebox, bartenders and food. It’s
decorated like county fair hell ride—witness the revamped
“Diablo Room” and the imposing gargoyle fountain
on the patio. The two big screen televisions are usually free
of sports, mostly featuring blood, guts, pussy and sometimes
even Joe Lifto. Its not everywhere you can get your drink
poured by the guy who you just watched pick up a keg with
his dong on the Travel Channel.
The Boom Chica Boom girls kept the patio warmed up in the
cool, still air, shaking their tail feathers during both bands’
sets. I was disappointed that Jeannine was sick and wouldn’t
be heating it up herself on keys with the Ugly Beats. I can
dig their take on sixties flavored garage-pop. It’s
loaded with catchy riffs and punctuated by sudden attention-grabbing
changes. I made my move for the bathroom late in their set
and missed Lifto and Zack stretching to new lows. Back inside
it was steadily filling to capacity and soon there would be
no re-entering for the duration.
With the addition of the man himself on bass for the past
six years, Casino El Camino has become the official headquarters
of the Sons of Hercules. They bull-rushed the drunk and flatulent
crowd with a cover of the Skunks’ infamous “Gimme
Some” and kept the pace up playing what was apparently
Heavy Metal Dave’s theme song, “Used To Be Cool,”
followed by the tough chugging sing-along “Too Late.”
The melodic style of the two newly debuted songs reflected
the Sons’ evolution with John Felice accolade, Dave
Bone, playing guitar. They kept the encore short and sweet,
and I left looking forward to another year of gambling my
wits at Austin’s one and only Casino El Camino.