Thursday, April 2, 2009


Sometime the buzz'll gitcha...

And then it will toss you off, half-baked, unsatisfied.

Such is the case with half of tonight's show at Spaceland - a post-SXSW double-bill of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Austin's own White Denim, both highly recommended to me by various friends and hangers-on during (and after) the festival. When Laurie mentioned that she was headed out to see them both tonight, I parted with $12.25 and joined her, stage left, ready to fulfill the promise of palpable, frenzied capital B-U-Z-Z.

Sadly, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were just...good. A quick flip of the ole dictionary will tell you that Good ain't Bad, but it's definitely not Great. I like shoegaze, I like a buzzy synth. I like double-guitar attacks. What I don't like are slightly-too-precious-and-shy twee vocals that are nearly inaudible, and when a band has all the stage presence of my grandma taking a nap.

(Love you, gramma.)

South-By Strikeout, sadly.

But White Denim made up for it with their space-rock blues, entirely captivating, even when they tread a wee bit too close to the fuckin'-rockin'-out vs. totally-jammin'-dude line.

Guitar Guy had an array of pedals, including a much-lusted-after Boomerang that I stared at for most of one entire song, and he used them to dive into psychedelia and layer on sounds no doubt culled from teenage years spent immersed in 70's prog rock.

Drum Guy sat front and center and threw alla his weight on the floor tom and the crash, making delightful loud noise after delightful loud noise. Though I called these guys out as being "space-rock blues," Drum Guy didn't dwell in the blues-rock ghetto, and though I loves me a good blues-rock experience, he spanked the blues with a hint of punk and I loved it even more.

Most surprising to me was Bass Guy, who looked like he was swept out of algebra class at the Rock n' Roll Middle School For Clean-Shaven, Ruddy-Cheeked Androgynes, but he ground into his four strings like he was having his way with Carmen Electra or something. You know it's a good show when you're noticing the BASS PLAYER.

No offense to all of you bass players, but really - who watches the bass player at a show? Unless you're a bass player yourself, or you're the mother of one, or you're hoping to bone one because neither the singer nor the guitarist are available and the drummer is just too crazy-seeming, NO ONE pays attention to the bass player.

So kudos you, Pat. Or Sam. Or Chris. Or whatever your name is. Kudos you.


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