Friday night at O’Leaver’s. The usual crowd.
I was told by one of my network of spies that The Prairies are part of a new clique/cult of bands whose members hang out at The Antiquarium and who all have a deep-seated love for Times New Viking. The TNV influence is very real, but not definitive, not for these guys. TNV plays blown-out post-wave punk that’s low-fi, brutally primitive and yet, strangely catchy. Prairies have a lot of those same characteristics, but sprinkle in bits and pieces of fun-loving garage rock flavor. The result is a band that sounds like a combination of early, noisy Pavement cross-bred with Box Elders. I dug it, and so did the 12 people in O’Leaver’s Friday night, thanks in part to their giggly (i.e. drunk?) stage banter that pitched back and forth whenever the line-up changed instruments — everyone played drums at some point in the set, actually everyone seemed to play everything once, and sing. Impressive, especially considering that they’d played a set just an hour earlier down at Slowdown.
Well-Aimed Arrows just keep getting better. As I said the last time I saw them, the band has the Protoculture‘s same dissonant song structures driven by punchy rhythms and frontman/drummer Koly Walter’s flat, barking voice. Michelle Petersen provides a slightly atonal counter vocal that borders on harmony (or necessary dissonance). Clayton Petersen continues with his trademark jitter-rhythm, angular guitar. Why it works so well? The rhythm section, balanced out by free-wheelin’ hat-wearin’ bass player Brian Byrd; and arrangements that call for hands-off-the-instruments repeated choruses that sound more like angry punk chants than songs. Just think how high those songs will fly once the crowd learns the words (or learns how to Pogo).
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