Quite an evening at O’Leaver’s last night. As expected, the place was packed (but isn’t it always packed at O’Leaver’s these days?). It’s no surprise that everyone was buzzing about the announcement of the new One Percent club, The Waiting Room (see yesterday’s blog entry). The consensus: It should be a homerun. The biggest question mark: Parking. I don’t know my way around Benson, but I have to believe that there are open lots within a few blocks of that venue — it can’t be any worse than Sokol, where most nights I find myself trekking through snow-covered sidewalks three or four blocks away (constantly looking over my shoulder). The other hot question: What will happen with the other venues in town. Everyone agrees that O’Leaver’s size and dirty-basement/vagrant quality make it immune to any threat (other than maybe from the health department).
Back to the show… Dance Me Pregnant was a gloriously sloppy mess of a punk band. As the guy next to me — who has more music knowledge in his pinky than I’ll ever have in my entire thumb — described them: They sound like a messy version of Ritual Device. It doesn’t get any more accurate than that. I like the sheer aggression of their sound, the leveraged anger, the pre-determined, pre-meditated violence of their presentation. I knew that it would be something special when the lead singer was showing off what looked to be a series of purple b-b-gun welts on his stomach prior to the set. Nice. Though I couldn’t see it from where I was in the back of the room, I’m told blood was spilled at some point. If there’s one thing that could push this band over the top, it’s the inclusion of actual rabid violence or perhaps open flames. Without them, you get a sense that they’re holding back. It’s gutter punk bordering on hoodlumism, and it seems genuine, and I like it, as long as the bottle isn’t aimed at my face.
Finally there was Artsy Golfer — the new supergroup consisting of four musicians with ties to Saddle Creek Records bands. The irony is that these guys (and gal) sound nothing like anything that Creek has ever released (much to the label’s detriment). Their style is loud and hazy, throbbing and hypnotic, and 100 percent slacker-approved. Too rural to be considered shoe-gazer, AG gives a nod to the low-fi heavy weights that walked the earth a decade ago, from Sonic Youth to Dinosaur Jr, but without those bands’ furrowed-brow angst. Never has a band been more defined by its choice of cover songs than AG’s sloppy version of Pavement’s “Grounded,” whose opening guitar pings were met with cheers. The set concluded with a droning, brooding, almost druggy trance-rock masterpiece that stumbled forward for at least 10 minutes until its trippy conclusion wobbled to a stop. Expect great things from this band, if its members can find enough time away from their other projects to make a serious go of it.
Tonight at O’Leaver’s, the triumphant return of Matt Whipkey, fresh from his ice-covered tour of the western United States. Also on the bill, Whipkey’s significant other, Sarah Benck with her band, The Robbers, and singer/songwriter Scott Severin’s new band — Scott Severin & The Milton Burlesque. $5, 9:30 p.m.
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