Cavedoll (Photo: Emily Allen)
March 13, 2009
With Vicious Starfish and Tolchock Trio
The Trax dropped us off at 700 South at 7:20 and it was dark. We walked too far down 700 and we ran into a woman who looked like she’d just been shaken very hard—her hair was disheveled and her face was droopy, like it was slipping ever so slightly off her skull.
"Do you know where we are?" She asked.
This was the beginning of a long night, and the first omen that this wasn’t going to be a normal concert for us. I told the woman that the Trax station was just up the road, but she insisted that’s impossible because, she said, pointing west, "That way is east."
The concert started at 7:00. We were late and later still because we got lost along 700 and ran into the droopy faced woman. We got our tickets and slipped in among the crowd. Cavedoll was playing and about halfway through their set already. They were good.
As soon as I walked in, a man who looked like a cross between Quentin Tarentino and Frodo Baggins approached and shook my hand. He said something that I couldn’t hear. He smiled at me affectionately—too affectionately, I’d say, for someone I just met. After this awkward exchange, he sat nearby and jotted studiously in a small notepad.
I didn’t know of any of the bands on the lineup before I got there, but Cavedoll made me glad I came. If this is the first band, I thought, what’s next? Grasping for something to compare them to, I thought, "Mindless Self Indulgence, but less insane" and "Pretty Girls Make Graves, but more melodic." They had the charisma of a band that should be playing to a much bigger and rowdier crowd. The handful of indie kids who were there just swayed nervously with their hands in their pockets. It’s a shame to have so listless an audience for such an energetic band. One of their singers, Kness Angulo, pulled out a megaphone and they ripped into a funky final song. Later, my roommate pointed out that when she sang with that megaphone, Angulo sounded exactly like Haruko from FLCL.
Throughout Cavedoll’s set, the Quentin Baggins guy kept staring at me and smiling and it was creeping me out. While we waited by Kilby’s wonderful fire pit as Vicious Starfish sets up, he watched me from the dark for several minutes before he came forth and said that I looked exactly like Kirby Heyborne. Who is that? Well, he told me, he starred in Pirates of the Great Salt Lake, among other local films. I assured him that I am not Kirby. He told me the resemblance is uncanny. He sat across the fire and watched me some more.
The bassist from Cavedoll took her spot next to me and I complemented her for a job well done. We had a pleasant chat about Mindless Self Indulgence’s live shows—it turns out that my comparison wasn’t too far off—and I wished her well on the bands upcoming gig at SXSW.
When Vicious Starfish started playing the energy I got from Cavedoll was very quickly drained. They weren’t bad as much as they were boring. They didn’t move when they played and their songs all sounded like variations on a theme. Lead singer Austin Merkley imitated Placebo and the band overdid Muse. The first song was promising enough to stay for two more, but by the fourth song, I was tired. My energy crashed. I suggested that we sit by the fire.
At the fire, we met a guy who was there for the Band of Annuals. Apparently he thought they were playing that night. Someone mentions that Muscle Hawk, who were scheduled to play, couldn’t make it, which we were disappointed to hear. Muscle Hawk was the band I showed my roommate and his friend to convince them to go. It was freezing out so we sat closer to the fire but that just made our front side too hot and our back side too cold.
When Vicious Starfish was done, Quentin Baggins came out and positioned himself between my roommate and me. Apparently he was there to do a review too. He worked for some website I’ve forgotten the name of (sorry man). He found out I worked for SLUG and he confessed that he hadn’t been able to get a gig there yet. He asked me if I brought a notebook.
No, I didn’t.
He always brought a notebook. And a tape recorder for interviews. His website got an average of thirty hits a day. He went to five concerts a week. This guy was a pro. This was my first concert review, and it was clear I have a lot to learn.
When the Tolchock Trio starts playing, I can tell that they are good, but I am beat. I know that if we leave soon, then we can catch the 10:14 bus. If we miss the 10:14 bus, it’s another hour out in the cold. We leave two songs into Tolchock Trio’s set (I apologize to the Tolchock Trio, who came inconveniently at the end of a very strange night).