Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Live: Weird Owl, Insouciant, Gunfight! and more

When: 1/30
Where: Vanishing Point

In case you haven't noticed, I always make a point of going to shows that have anything to do with the BNS Sessions family. The main reason is that when the Werewolves aren't playing, they usually go and hang out, and I can be in the same room with them and pretend I'm their friend.

So that's how I end up at the shows of a bunch of bands I just heard, like this one, which featured Gunfight!, the Soundscapes and Quiet Loudly. Luckily for you, dear readers, it also featured two bands brand new to this author, so let's start there.

Insouciant - This band hails from New Jersey and while I may have heard the (rather poorly chosen) name before, I knew nothing about them. And in theory it was the kind of music I should have liked - experimental, with definite allusions to math rock and Sonic Youth. But so many bands have made just this type of music that it's become entirely cliche. It came off as disjointed and unfocused, a mush of 90's pre-post-rock influences, swallowed and spat out undigested. (Sorry, that was a gross metaphor, yeah?). They also had four people on stage and it took me a while to even notice this because I could only hear three parts at a time - the band definitely didn't use its resources (i.e. four people) effectively.

Photo from MySpace.com

The one really good thing I can say about this band is that their delivery was surprisingly aggressive. They yelled and howled, smashed their drums and cranked it up loud. Without that, the set would have been miserable - instead it was enjoyable, if unmemorable. ::MySpace

Weird Owl - Now, in contrast, here's a band I theoretically shouldn't like. Weird Owl basically plays Southern/hard rock, which is a genre whose most classic albums I might dabble in but that I would otherwise never seek out. But Weird Owl made me think twice about that attitude - they played tightly and confidently, and their songs were solid. I was surprised when I realized I was actually really enjoying their set.

Photo by Miss Molly (from MySpace.com)
Weird Owl (photo by Miss Molly)

After a while of listening, I also realized that this wasn't exactly your typical hard rock, because the band uses a wall-of-sound technique. The friend I was watching with said it was kind of psychedelic, and I definitely agree. There's some Pink Floyd in there, in the density of the sound. Whatever the combination of styles, it definitely works. ::MySpace

Gunfight! - I reviewed these guys not too long ago. This show was the same, only better - louder, more energetic, much tighter and with even better stage antics. Those included one member standing on his amp, and amp-climbing always wins me over. Also, last time I wrote them up, I wavered on classifying them as "cow punk," because it wasn't quite punk rock. But this time around, even though the band still doesn't fit neatly under a label, there was no doubt they could out-punk most of us any day. ::MySpace

Soundscapes - They haven't changed much since last time I wrote them up. They are still amazing. The only thing that has me slightly worried is that they have a little less energy on stage than they did when I first saw them a year ago. I hope it was a one-night fatigue and not a sign that their shows are becoming too routine to them. But anyway, "less energy" is a relative description, and compared to a lot of bands, these guys are still bouncing off the walls. ::MySpace

Quiet Loudly - Quiet Loudly, whom I reviewed not long ago at all, debuted a bunch of songs at this show. I'll wait until their next album is finished (it's already in the works) to give you the details, but their newest stuff rocks hard and heavy and meanders less than their first attempts. That's good news, so stay tuned. ::MySpace

A final rant, if I may. I'm sick to death of projections behind bands. I think it's basic biological fact that visual stimuli trump auditory stimuli and the result is that all the pictures whirling around behind the band are detracting from the music, not adding to it. Whether it's art films or Windows Media Player "visualizations," it's really starting to make me miss the good old days when you'd actually watch the bands do their thing.


benjamin said...

hey, i agree! i like to see what the band is doing. visuals are a crutch for bands that don't know how to act on stage!

adamate8 said...

It all began in 1998. I had just watched a moby interview and he described kurt cobain as being insouciant to the record industry and when he said the word insouciant a little definition popped up. From then on I called my solo project insouciant. As poorly choosen as you believe the band name to be I find it really nice. I like it as a band name. I think it sounds nice when you say it. Sometimes I say it to the clerk at k mart. Boy, that really was a bad set we played. I'm sorry we were so unmemorable. I am also really sorry for being so cliche. We do have the tendency to sound exactly like sonic youth and mathrock. Those are actually the only two things that we have ever heard. Sonic youth and math rock. sonik youth and math rock. Day in day out. And also early nineties post rock. We like rock. We also like to crank it up. hooting and hollering and banging on the drums. We're like a bunch of rolling stones but the only difference is that we suck. We are almost the same. But, there is one difference. We are not good like the rolling stones. They are a rock and roll band. Ok.
kindest regards
-adam kaniper