Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quilt, Girlfriends, Hands & Knees, and Thick Shakes @ P.A.'s Lounge on 2.20.10

For a night basted with noise, the stage was sweetly dressed with floral arrangements. Sagging from the drapes, outlining the drum kit and climbing the mic stands, all to compliment to giant brass tuba hanging on the wall of what Girlfriends band members joked was ‘father’s’ or ‘pa’s’ Lounge. Thick Shakes set up the event for their EP release and gathered three of the areas most impressive new garage punk experiments. For a mostly male dominated genre, femininity was well represented (and not just with the flowers). Each band had at least one female member.

Quilt opened up with the droning intensity of their cavernous soundscapes. Chanting lyrics flooded from each member of the trio (even the drummer wore a head set). The guitarist bowed, bopped, knelt, begged and prayed with his instrument all over the stage. Towards the end of their set, they pulled out a banjo that had been hand soldered to be amplified. The twangy slide and plunk of the thing fit in gracefully with the rest of the celestial mysticism in their sound to make for some gritty psychedelia.

Girlfriends patented 'trash pop' followed with vicious giddiness. An unexpected intensity had the lead prancing all over the stage like he were possessed by a garage rock demon. The drummer was right there with him, while the girl playing bass bobbed her head sweetly, in her own world, watching for cues. The singer's guitar became his head for the bridge of “Sucking Rare Meat Off Bone China,” when he recited verses into the pickup, sounding like a poetic cop through pissed off radio static. When it started to get warm, he tossed his cardigan into the crowd, which was returned neatly to the stage. “It came back to me…I'm not sure what that means,” he laughed. Girlfriends even squeezed in a Vaselines cover of 'The Day I Was a Horse.' Their drum had an X with the letters S, I, T, C in each section. This, apparently, stood for "send in the clowns."
Each artist on the bill was pushing their debut material except Hands and Knees, who are coming down from their last release, Et Tu, Fluffy?, and preparing for a new release this year. They've got a bar room swill stuck to their sound and appearance, the lead in a trucker hat. but when they play, its with finesse. The irresistible pop poetics were pierced with the violence of thunderous guitar noise and ferocious shouts that can flat out scare you. Hands and Knees ended the set with a minute and a half adrenaline releasing thrash, “Shove it Up Your Heart.”

Thick Shakes took the stage sort of looking like if the Adams started a family band. The guitarist had been attacked and nearly blinded at the band's last house show in November, so the set decoration and their gothic attire were a tongue in cheek faux-funeral that added an interesting element to their ghastly fuzz flooded music. It poured out to surround the whole room, like wrapping the crowd in warm cotton. The producer for their EP joined them on a vintage keyboard for the first few songs of their set, before the band took off by themselves.

It also seemed to be the night of cassette tape flashbacks. With the CD on its dying legs, a lot of local acts are getting back into the tapedeck. Both labels that Quilt and Girlfriends are on (Breakfast of Champs and Floating Garbage Continent) have started almost exclusively distributing tapes. Even the EP release show was for Thick Shakes recent cassette Ooh Mommy.

Check out photos below:





Photography by Lee Stepien

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