Monday, November 14, 2011

11.11.11, up and down the length of Mass Street

On a historical day, Lawrence was rocking.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 6:35 AM


My night of 11.11.11 action started at the Jackpot with the dulcet rock-and-roll tones of the Runaway Sons. No, wait — strike that. The Sons' full-on assault is an attack on your central nervous system. Their rhythm section vibrates your entire body. The frontman, Jimmy Wing, will jerk and gyrate directly at you, and you will feel mightily uncomfortable, and possibly violated. They're a perfect band to start out an evening of too many bands, too much volume and way, way too much alcohol.


From the Runaway Sons' louder-than-bombs blasts, it was just half a block to The Granada for O Giant Man's tuneful harmonies. I'd heard many a good thing about this quartet, and they were all on the money. They're slightly left of mainstream indie pop, and the keys simultaneously lend a melodic and percussive counterpoint to the jangling guitar. The vocals remind me a lot of the Avett Brothers. The sound was bouncy and slightly angular and had me wishing that they had a CD or something I could've taken home.

After that, it was another venue and yet another genre shift for one of six final shows from BaioWolf. Their screaming, rapping, stream-of-consciousness show is somewhere between performance art and the funniest drunk guys at the party. These are the guys whose cover of "Our God Is an Awesome God" is rooted 100 percent in appreciation for a song that they seem to be ripping the shit out of. No irony, just enthusiasm — and they're hoping you're just as thrilled as they are. Sean Wilson and Rob Schulte's fucked-up duo will be dearly missed.

Speaking of missing things: How the fuck have I gone so long without seeing Mansion? Epic metal jams that build and ebb and flow? That's my shit, right there. If it's big, loud and amazing, I'm usually right there, but somehow this band, with its three-guitar attack, has been one of those acts I've completely missed. Seriously epic stuff — the only band I've ever seen start the second number of their set and announce, "This is our last song."

By the time I made it back to The Granada, things were running about 10-15 minutes late, which gave me a moment to catch my breath and relax after two hours of bouncing up and down the length of downtown. I took the opportunity to peruse the selection of fliers from Up to Eleven's past shows, some of which ably demonstrated the company's ability to book bands long before they hit it big. Ratatat or Explosions In the Sky at the Replay? Jackie Becker and her group of cohorts know what's hot long before you do.

The Dead Girls' set of power-pop was composed entirely of new songs, according to drummer Eric Melin. They rank among the tightest numbers the foursome's yet done, and several recall the band's pedigree in Podstar and Ultimate Fakebook — insanely hooky riffs and choruses. When the Dead Girls are at their best, they remind me of a mix between hair metal's catchy choruses and Thin Lizzy's tuneful guitar work, and that was on display in spades Friday night. Especially choice was their third number, "Naysayer," a really rocking number with the choppy riffs.

Afterward, somehow I went from the Replay to the Taproom with a group of friends, ostensibly to see BaioWolf again, but we somehow ended up seeing Generals. This was by no means a bad bit of happenstance. The group was on my list of bands to see, but I had no idea they were such a swirling bit of thrumming bass and guitar. It was akin to Modest Mouse in a lot of ways, especially in terms of guitar tone and vocals. The band's resolutely chill nature, combined with the packed Taproom basement, thrusted me back outside, lest I collapse from exhaustion and sheer chill relaxation. There was also a guy who kept headbanging on me — literally grabbing my arm and banging his head against my bicep. It was irritating as fuck, but I had a camera in my hands and couldn't quite figure out a way to protect it and brain him with a beer bottle at the same time. By that point, I'd had far too many $3 Tallgrass beers. I was about to make some bad decisions, but still just sober enough to realize it. I pulled my stocking cap out of my bag, popped in some earbuds and wandered home.

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