Man, what a show. I missed Reduced to Ruin entirely, though, and only caught half of Death to Anders, a five-man outfit from LA.
Death to Anders: I will be purchasing their music. The changes are great, they play rock variously and very well . . . crisp and loud . . . different textures, too, and an amazing bassist. No surprise, their being from LA and all, that I hadn’t heard them before Sunday. Haven’t been to Silver Lake in quite a while. But if I’m down there on vacay or to help fight fires I’ll definitely check to see if they have a show, for sure. More garage I’d say than indie, there’s a J. Spencer blues a-thrumming and I applaud them especially for figuring out how to maintain a consistent sound while trading vocals between guitarists. Rhythm sings one tune, lead sings the next two, and so on. And if you were to close your eyes you really wouldn’t be able tell the difference, which is a compliment. Vocal consistency is a good and laudable thing. And !biggup! to the Makeout Room on this, too. I’ve yet to see a show there that wasn’t well mixed.
Low Red Land: I first saw these three guys at the baybridged inaugural rooftop podcast and they definitely made an impression with what was a stripped-down, bring-your-own-banjo type of acoustic set. Then cut to Sunday, which was rock and roll, irrevocably. They played with energy (even more impressive because they’d just gotten off a plane from NY hours before the show) and a little twang, reminds me of Son Volt, not Wilco. The vocals have a Mountain Goats ring to them (another compliment, Go Wolfpack!), and the interplay–both instrumentally and vocally–between bassist Ben Thorne and guitarist Neil Thompson is spot on and harmonically gratifying. It drives fairly hard when it wants, tho, too. Think Arcade Fire, I don’t want to say Band of Horses, but I just did.
One way or the other it’s a very professional thing they’ve got going on. Drummer Mark DeVito is more than capable both as an anchor and a utility man, busting out the accordion now and again to sex up the mood while maintaining a steady kick snare. Impressive multi-tasking, Mr. Devito. So if you haven’t, go back and hear them for yourself, just search the baybridged archives and you’ll have access to the rooftop acoustic nice-nice.
But truth be told I preferred the Makeout Room set. I like them better as a rock band. They probably like them better as a rock band, too. It shows on their faces, that rock and roll. I know they’ve been around for a little while, they released a record in 2006, I mean they play around town, in NY and stuff, right. Whatever I’m new to them. And I’m happy to report that I’d place them–from what I’ve seen in SF of late–among the top-notch garage outfits in the City, with Thee Ohsees, Dodos, you know, Master/Slave and ’em boys. How many times can I mention the Ohsees and Dodos and why isn’t John Dwyer on MTV yet what the tits, man? I’ve been waiting on True Life: I’m a Wylin’ Out San Francisco Garagista for months now. . . .
So, back to Low Red Land. Will I be there when your face turns blue? Maybe. Will I be at El Rio on the 4th of July to watch these three fellows and six other bands do it up. For sure, if it’s clever, that is, if I’m not drunk on a boat somewheres. In the meantime it’s off to Aquarius to dig for their CD.