Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chaos in Tejas Part 1: Friday

Chaos in Tejas is nontraditional in a lot of ways. Instead of concentrating a bunch of bands to one area, instead several bands are booked across different venues across Austin, with each line-up usually showcasing a different variety of punk rock. Needless to say, the four day fest is fucking fun, if only mared by being one of the most heat intensive musical experiences of the year. Personal matters blocked me from experiencing the first day, but I jumped into the other three days, each being very different from the last.

Gun Outfit

I got to the brand new, two story Beauty Ballroom just in time to catch Gun Outfit's set. Can something be great and awkward at the same time? It felt that way watching Gun Outfit create very gloomy and moody post-punk, something akin to Lower Dens circa their first album trying to be Flipper. And the venue, with the excellent lighting and awesome sound system, helped to convey all that live. The guitars were loud and distorted without over ridding the vocals, and the bass didn't envelope everything. However, this was clearly a punk rock crowd sitting through a band they did not want to see, and the openness of the venue just emphasised this. The band debuting slower and more shoegaze-esque songs didn't help either. If the venue had been half the size, the power that Gun Outfit brings life wouldn't have been lost. Instead a great set was lost on a crowd that couldn't appreciate it. 

The Young

The Young are an Austin staple, a band that opens for all those cool touring bands and probably is playing in town in any given week. As such, I thought it would be OK to sit out their set and just watch from the second floor. Looking back that was a massive mistake on my part. The Young have really evolved in their live set, in a mirror reflection of how their sound has developed. From a band that once was a basic punk band, one listen to their debut album Voyagers of Legend and its mixture of stoner rock, Fugazi angularism, and mild psychedelia, shows you a how far they've come. So to have their live show. For a band that plays decently drug influenced music, the four people on stage were tight as hell. They bobbed and weaved between each respective band members instruments, each member bringing something to their instrument without over shadowing the over members. Hanz Zimmerman is a good front man, proven here with the band playing brand new material from their upcoming Dub Egg and Zimmerman still managing to make every lyric and guitar lick seem as important as the last. If any Austin band deserves the national spotlight, The Young proved here that they do.


Ceremony had the best set of the night. Yes, in part it was because it was the band the entire audience had waited all night to see. Yes, this meant it was the band everyone went crazy for, so much so that the Beauty Ballroom shut down the second floor in fear of people jumping off it (a good call). More importantly though, Ceremony are just great live. Five years together they have everything down to a T. Despite all the chaos happening around them, the moshing, stage diving, almost fights almost happening, the band stayed a hurricane of a force through out their 30 minute set. Guitarists Ryan Mattos and Anthony Anzaldo played as if nothing could get in their way, playing more intensity then any band I've seen in a while. But truly, what made the show was front man Ross Farrar. The man is a caged animal released on stage, with a look so demented it looks like it was superimposed on. He stomped and stalked on stage, more manic than anything I've seen in a while. The intensity of that half-hour can not be understand. The dam broke down as seventy five punk rock fans went crazy, with Ceremony sound tracking the whole thing.

No Age

No Age's set was a painful thing to endure. In the literal sense in that the band's legacy for loudness is completely founded, and let my ears ringing well into the next day. But also in the sense that by the end the set the band was playing to a near empty venue. Whether this was due to the crowd just not liking No Age or the noise driving everyone out is hard to tell, but it still felt unfortunate that such an excellent band was being treated like they were just starting out. Whatever the case, it didn't seem to faze the duo, who happily blasted through a sizable chunk of their discography over their hour long set. Unfortunately, due in half to the sound system and half to the band themselves, the set list started to blur together over distortion and cymbal crashes. Still the greatness of the music itself made the set enjoyable enough, even if "Glitter" was blurred enough to sound like "Sleeper Hold".

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