Q: What's worse than having to see one of your favorite bands in
a venue you hate?
A: Having to see bands you've never even heard of in a venue you hate.
Q: What's better than forgetting the horrible venue you're in because
your favorite band swept you off your feet?
A: Forgetting the horrible venue you're in because bands you've never
even heard of swept you off your feet.
This was my experience last night at Emo's. I brought two friends
with me for moral support, just in case the bands were horrible, or
even worse, mediocre. I brought a book. I even downloaded a game onto
my phone, just in case. And then Communiqué got on stage.
Instantly catchy, the music pulled me into its own little world,
which is vaguely New Wave, but with keys that sometimes sound like
Grandaddy and vocals like Tim Kasher, if he stayed in
key and didn't scream so much. The band exuded a kind of quiet intensity,
the sure sign of a grown-up punk kid, which in fact, these guys are.
I wish I had been more familiar with the music before seeing them
live; they had that intimate, sing-along kind of vibe that I wanted
so badly to participate in but couldn't. I learned later that they
played two songs from their old EP, A Crescent Honeymoon, mostly
new songs from their recently released full-length, Poison Arrows,
and one unreleased, brand spankin' new song called "Baby, I'm
There wasn't a lot of dialogue or time wasting; they flowed from
one song to the next, carrying the audience along with them. In
fact, I noticed as I looked around the room that it was unusually
crowded and quiet for an opening act. Emo's crowds are notoriously
rude to the early shows, but this time they seemed as wrapped up
in what was happening as I was, and therefore relatively polite.
Whether or not Communiqué noticed or understood this, I don't
know. I hope that at least they instinctively felt and appreciated
the attentiveness. And I hope they come back soon.
Cross Your Heart
Evening in the City
Baby, I'm Leaving You
Now, I was only supposed to review Communiqué and These
Arms Are Snakes, but since when have I ever done what I'm supposed
to? However, since I am stealing space, I'll only steal a little.
I just want to say that I was completely blown away by Murder By
Death. I don't know where these kids came from, how long they've
been around, how many of them have been to art or music school, who
they are, or any of the other important information someone would
want to know about a band. All I know is that I was on the point of
tears throughout their entire set. The piano and the cello in this
band are mind-blowingly impressive, and yet still beautiful and accessible.
And even though my description thus far makes them sound like some
stodgy art-fag act, they are undeniably ROCK. Do yourself a favor
and see these kids next time they're in your town; it just might save
Headlining the show were Jade Tree troublemakers, These Arms Are
Snakes. I would like to preface this review by quoting the brilliant
Mr. Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields, 6ths, Future
Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies): "I plan to explore
seizure-raising mixing techniques
That's the way we find out
more about our brains-we disturb them." Judging by their live
show, TAAS are definitely out to find out more about our brains. Holy
shit, the drummer! I found out afterwards that TAAS doesn't currently
have a regular drummer, so for this part of the tour they borrowed
Erin Tate of Minus the Bear. Uhhh
guy kicks ass. And he doesn't even have to get up off his own to do
it. Tate wasn't the only one owning the crowd, though: the entire
band laid waste to us all. Noisy, raucous, spastic, but always tight,
they reminded my friends and me of an underground crossbreed between
At the Drive-In and Rage Against the Machine.
Singer Steve Snere strutted like a rooster but screamed like
a cat. Guitarist Ryan Frederiksen and bassist Brian Cook
melted our faces off with their severe and passionate attack on their
instruments. They all screamed and danced and initiated the epileptic
attacks with a few of their own. The crowd, or at least parts of it,
certainly followed where they lead. I was totally absorbed, but also
amused. And I can't wait to do it again. If you've ever listened to
their album and thought to yourself, "Hm
ok, not bad,"
I definitely recommend you see them live. There's simply no comparison.
If you've never heard of them before, go see them live. If you're
a fan, I'm assuming you've already seen them live. I think that just
about covers everyone. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming LP
The Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home,
being released September 21st.
Piña Colada Burg
Run It Through the Dog
- Emily Strong
Photos by Hillary Schmelebeck
These Arms Are Snakes/Murder By Death/Communiqué
Emo's, Austin, TX
July 23, 2004
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