Photos by: Rachel Keenan

Weeknights can be tough on the concertgoer, and pushing the time limit you’ll allow yourself to stay out often requires absorbing enough energy from the band onstage just to stay awake. It was no surprise, though, that the middle act last Wednesday at the Rickshaw had my interest piqued: the noisy trio Mi Ami, based out of the uncharted jungles of San Francisco.

In an increasingly stratified music scene, where new niche genres come in fast and strong and leave little space for others, quality post-punk almost feels like a lost art. Mi Ami ably reclaims a lot of that forgotten territory, reeling in worldwide fandom and at the Rickshaw, a very ecstatic front-and-center male dancer in particular. The band’s live getup is a sight to see just as much as it is to hear. They succeed in melding three distinct styles — gutting tribal dance beats, sludgy bass grooves and shrill, reverb spasms on guitar — but I think a purer isolation of each element would sound just as good.

This weekend, Mi Ami will be playing a house show with LA’s Pocahaunted (who once counted Bethany of Best Coast as a member) at BayArea51 (8:30pm, $5, more details on MySpace). Mi Ami’s second release on Thrill Jockey, the Steal Your Face LP, comes out next Tuesday. To read more about Mi Ami, visit the trustworthy Dusted Magazine.

Opening the show was the very green Protect Me, whom I could imagine functions very well in the adoring and musty air of The Smell, but faced difficulty filling the wide open space of the Rickshaw in the early evening. The two-piece kept it simple with bass and drums, yet still breached punk’s boundaries by applying elements of synthy Gothic and New Wave.

The arrival onstage of headliners High Places came at an upturn in my sleepiness, only to wake me up with loud, unexpected dub beats. As their newest Thrill Jockey release High Places vs. Mankind unfolded for the audience, the band showcased a clear directional change. What had previously been strongly characteristic of High Places — a timely off-beat, bell-chiming softness — grew instead heavy and hardened.

Protect Me

Mi Ami

High Places