Cosmonauts @ The Shred Shed 08.15 with Beat Hotel, Breakers, Super 78
This last week has been nothing short of doom and gloom. This sentiment is inspired by scenes of police abuse and militarization in Ferguson, Missouri, followed up by the deaths of iconic actors Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. The world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, with the greats getting one-way tickets out of here. To find some relief from these epic disasters, the path to temporary salvation seems include finding a bar to crawl into or checking out a Rock n’ Roll gig. Luckily for me, I am able to do both.
Starting out at the Jackalope with an Irish coffee, I am able kill some time before hitting the Shred Shed for tonight’s super star line up. Tonight’s headliners are The Cosmonauts, so naturally, with ears perked, I had to check these cats out. Despite being early, the festivities start a bit later than advertised, possibly to allow for more people to show up, so I take advantage of the delay to make a quick trip around the corner. After a getting our hands on some liquid enthusiasm, my mate and I return to the sound of Rocky (Beat Hotel) encouraging the small and slightly growing assortment of hip weirdoes into the Shred Shed.
Starting off tonight’s fun, Beat Hotel kicks off with a fuzzy psychedelic-infused wail that is accompanied by a healthy dose of feedback. Their performance is notable, as they blast their audience with a sort of distorted wave, enveloping those close enough to the speakers in a wall of vibrating noise. This, and the ferocity of the vocals, allow one to easily see the influence of decades of psychedelic infused garage rock.
Though it may seem that everyone and their mother has a niche in this market, Beat Hotel certainly makes it their own, as they play off of a more vintage sound. Though their cool demeanor keeps the audience entertained, it is hard not to notice certain technical hiccups. Despite some initial confusion regarding some mishaps, they continue to play right through to a trickling in and much appreciative audience. Closing out, Rocky reintroduces the group saying, “Beat Hotel, New York City, Utah.” I must confess to being a bit lost on that reference.
Breakers, Salt Lakes own surf-punk group are the next group on tonight’s bill, and they set a high bar that few can reach. Blasting off into a ’70s garage-punk with a surf rock influenced frenzy, they rip through the assembled crowd with heavy guitar riffs, prominent beats and killer wails courtesy of the vocals. Their near lethal doses of rock n’ roll provides a wild and aggressive performance that is topped off by their solid stage presence.
However, this intense display requires constant breaks to retune, adjust equipment and deal with the odd broken cable. To their credit, while these adjustments are taking place, the band makes up for lost time by engaging their audience. The lead vocalist/guitarist jests, jives and even shot-guns his beer much to the amusement of the spectators. When Breakers launch back into their set, they blast out catchy tunes that combined with their unique sound are remarkably infectious. Something which is obvious while observing sporadic twisting and swaying in the audience. Even with a slight hic-up, the party continues almost uninterrupted from when it left off.
Following in the wake left by Breakers, Super 78 introduce themselves with their customary deafening and psych-like droning filled intro, which serves to immediately captivate the assembled onlookers, most of whom I have seen to be regulars at their gigs. Blasting out their psychedelic infused rock n’ roll, they seem to be plagued by constant feedback and muddled frequencies. Though the sound portion of their issues seems to be a nasty side effect of the room they are playing in, it soon becomes clear that things don’t seem to be going well.
Looking toward the back of the stage, there seems to be an accident with the drums. I’m not quite able to make out the full extent of the problem, but I’m reasonably certain holding the snare drum while playing is not the typical way to go about it. The situation does not seem salvageable as Super 78’s set is over almost as soon as it started. They seem to manage to get through about two numbers before departing the stage and calling it quits.
After a lengthy break, Cosmonauts take to the stage is signified by the dimming lights and heavy guitar strumming. Wasting little time with pleasantries, tonight’s main attraction immediately gains the attention of the rooms occupants. They blast into their psychedelic inspired rock n’ roll, providing an experience that, combined with the right mind-altering substance, would provide one hell of a trip.
At this point I am painfully sober, but the constant reverberation allows my head to spin a bit, giving me an all too fuzzy feeling. However, the crowd sways about to the rhythm and doesn’t mind the feedback, as they seem hooked on some sort of spell. No doubt due to the band’s solid stage presence and showman-ship, which is notable since their energy is consistent throughout their set. They never allow it to falter in-between the cracks of a break or song change. This gives the listener the ability groove to their numbers without interruption.
Stepping outside so I could hear properly, I lean against a bike rack and look in on the crowd. Their enthusiasm seems tempered, but then again, this isn’t music one jumps up and down to. Rather it’s something that one coolly appreciates. Cosmonauts’ conclusion brings about a warm reception from the gathered onlookers. As they slowly depart, the crowd looks satisfied with how their night has gone. It was a good show. But I confess that my ears are still ringing and I need something just a bit more.
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