Yes, I know. It has been months since I posted here properly. You may know that my hockey stuff has another outlet now, but we’ll talk about that more in another post. How about some loud rock and roll music?
The decibel level in Columbus briefly spiked Thursday night as a roaring concert blew the doors off Ace of Cups. Billed as a part of a Don Giovanni Records tour, three label-mates and a rising local band shared their talents with a receptive crowd. Each three-piece band tore through a brief set (none lasting more than an hour) and all four groups impressed. Now that I can hear enough to think again, here’s a brief rundown of what each band had to offer.
All Dogs: This pop-punk band is on the rise (with Stereogum leading their promotion), but still managed to present fully formed songs with warm tones and vibrant bass sounds. A common theme for all bands was the somewhat distant mix for the vocals, and this kind of result (likely a function of the venue) didn’t allow the lyrics to come through. Overall, the performance impressed with loud guitars, strong melodies, and danceable rhythms.
Tenement: Wow. As soon as instruments were ready and connections sound-checked, these guys erupted. The band managed to blend a kind of good-Weezer on steroids sound with a punk-minded approach and tempo, all while keeping the guitar-god/noise antics of Sonic Youth in complete focus. Blended together, their set and style was unreal. High energy from all three members helped psuh every song over the edge, but the real winner was their closing number. In the final song, the vocalist stopped to strap a tambourine, a bell, and a maraca to his guitar with duct tape. He then thrashed and jumped about the stage with aplomb, hitting all the percussive bits while manipulating the feedback and sound from his guitar. It was a physical and exceptional performance akin to St. Vincent attacking a theremin.
Waxahatchee: This was a more restrained (not quiet, mind you) set than the dynamic work of Tenement, but a welcomed change of pace brought in with a brilliant musical display. Fresh off their latest release Cerulean Salt, songs from that record were highlighted. My favorite song of the night was a passionate performance of “Peace and Quiet.”
Unfortunately for the band, it was during their set that the crowd began to lose its composure in anticipation of the final group. Early in the set, the singer took a moment to note that yelling during the set disrupted things. While I initially took this as a snobbish view (isn’t reaction to your music a good thing?), the Bro next to me quickly became the embodiment of distraction (alternating between face-in-phone disinterested and fist-pumping-yelling). He wasn’t the only one, and it really took away from an otherwise wonderful performance.
Screaming Females: This band and their fans are intense. Throughout the efforts of the first three bands, I was situated one or two people away from the edge of the stage. It took only one Screaming Females song for me to chicken out on the whole thing. As a mosh pit started to form, I slipped away toward the back, out of the crowd and toward the merch table.
As for their music, Screaming Females were laser-focused and on point the whole time. Ferocious energy saw powerful vocals ride above the boiling guitar and dazzling drums. While I’m not sure I’d seek out the band without support (the rowdy crowd was a bit much), I’d certainly encourage punk fans to see this group.