Photos by Nicole Browner
Minutes before the show began, Weekend's drummer, Taylor Valentino, came rushing onto the empty stage, dropping his backpack behind his kit. He meticulously adjusted his drums and cymbals, clad in a white and yellow collared shirt. By the end of the first song, Valentino had his shirt off and his tattoos were glinting under the sweat and lights.
It was an apt introduction to the band who have the precision of a collared shirt and the punk of tattoos underneath. With the reverb on high and eerie feedback winding through their songs, Weekend created a thick, dark atmosphere that hung on Valentino's machine-like drumming. Bassist Shaun Durkan's remark that the "last song is about learning something about someone you don't really want to know," evoked the regret and wryness that make Weekend's music so immediate. For more of that wryness, I recommend stopping by their website, and their post about SXSW in particular.
They have a split 7" with Young Prisms coming out May 24th on Transparent Records which they are releasing at the Hemlock Tavern on May 30th and have a full-length album in the works. Listening feels like racing your car at midnight along a clear stretch of road - a keen awareness, a mean howling wind and the violent, rhythmic rattle of the car as it hits top speed.
The Mantles headlined the evening with a funny rapport between drummer and singer. Early in the set while the band was tuning, singer Michael Olivares told a colorful joke. Drummer Virginia Weatherby egged him on, suggesting he followup with "his seal joke."
"No. That's offensive to me," countered Olivares, teasing her. The band carried this humor and enthusiasm through a late set for a Tuesday night. With a garage-pop aesthetic and surf-style guitar, the band matches tight melodic strides with danceable rhythms and spare lyrics. Hearing them play "Yesterday's Gone," showcased what the band does well - taking deceptively simple lyrics and holding them up so they can be seen from all angles. The lyrics "yesterday's gone and I never felt so blue/ tomorrow lasts forever/ tomorrow I won't be seeing you" cleanly marry the everyday with the loneliness of a breakup.
They also played their recently released song, "Lily Never Married." With similar lyrical strength and a more developed wholeness to the song, it promises for a great 12" to be released on Mexican Summer soon. Their next show is at Bottom of the Hill on June 4th with X (Australia) and The A Frames. Listening feels like playing vinyls loud in the basement rec room with that person you've got a crush on but you know it's not going to happen - with the music too loud to talk and the lights turned low, you don't don't know what time of night it is and you don't care.
Tags: The Mantles, Weekend