Once again the pre-party show takes place at the Magic Stick, although this year split ten bands up between the two Magic Stick stages and the Garden Bowl. Toward the end of the night it was a fucking nightmare trying to navigate to the Garden Bowl to see anything and I ended up opting of seeing bands like Jesse and the Gnome and the Hounds Below.
Opening up the first Magic Stick stage were the Walking Beat, featuring former Scarlet Oaks singer/songwriter Steve McCauley. Apparently their first show as band, the combo eased through set of gauzy, country-tinged rock numbers replete with some great harmonica work by McCauley.
Up next on stage one was Matt Jones and the Reconstruction. Matt Jones has been hailed as one of the best songwriters around town. The buzz surrounding the songster had my ears perked for this outfit. Jones was joined by cellist Colette Alexander and Misty Lyn Bergeron on vocals. Their songs were beautifully quaint, anchored by Jones’ intricate, baroque-pop acoustic guitar. In some tunes Alexander’s cello stabbed its way through while on others she’d float over songs with delicate melodies, sliding around Jones and Bergeron’s breathy harmonized vocals.
Over on stage two, it was time for Kim Fowley’s Psychedelic Dogs, but I could only manage to catch the tail-end of it.
Back on stage one were hip-hop four-piece Cold Men Young. The crew has been my choice for best hip-hop group around town for some time and their set last night only further cemented my opinion. It took them only two minutes to turn the Magic Stick floor into a sweaty, head-banging, foot-stomping mosh.
Next on stage two were the absolute mind-fuck that was crochetcatpause. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a group that could actually disgust members of a crowd, a band that you just couldn’t watch with a straight face because you were either laughing your ass off or just completely bewildered. Musically, they’re somewhere between spastic electro, rap and punk. But, it’s their bat-shit crazy stage presence that leaves the biggest impression on you. They crashed into the crowd (literally), they rolled amongst cardboard boxes, mock prayed and got uncomfortable close for uncomfortably long periods of time. Hell, one dude even downed his own vomit. Has all this been done before? Sure. But this trio of weirdos managed to do it in a way that felt fresh and striking.
K.I.D.S. and Belle Ghoul capped off the night on the first and second stages, respectively. K.I.D.S., featuring former Silverghost member Deleano Acevedo on guitar and vocals, were great, combining 3-chord rock with that kind of 90’s alt-rock, big-chorus songwriting perfection. And Belle Ghoul lulled the crowd with some piano-heavy indie-pop tunes.