Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Coathangers - Bake Sale -- Red Palace - June 21 2011

Bake Sale - But the bubbles are free, as this local three piece has a bubble machine garnishing the stage for their set. Nice effect, although the guitarist did ask a fair question of whether the drummer was getting slimy. The music present was soap and water scrubbed clean indie pop. Maybe the Vaselines without the hooks? Or the Fastbacks without the pace and power? Good simple pop music with a modern style more than something classic. It seemed a bit lightweight early, but it grew on me as the set went on and there were a couple of nice songs later in the set. The vocal work, both lead and backing, really made the set work. This falls into my broad category of "lightly likable" reviews, but that isn't just a matter of being polite. The band is designed to be light and is genuinely likable and there is nothing wrong with that.

The Coathangers - If you like Raincoats, you need Coathangers. Punk Rock is correctly known for bringing forward the DIY concept for bands. But there is another key component that does not always get the mention it deserves. Punk Rock also empowered kids everywhere to pick up instruments and jump on stage as quickly as possible, spending a little time to write some original songs. Learning instruments can come much later on. And that was even more successful for the women in the punk scene. Thanks to that era, it is barely worth mentioning when a band is all women or which woman plays what in this century. I usually make the distinction for vocal work where it aids description. I will bring this up now as the Coathangers are proud descendants of the early punk scene. They are touring their third album this time out and I was curious to see what sort of growth has occurred. In lieu of becoming wildly proficient on their instruments and/or radically moving another direction, they have just kept their energy high and clearly tightened up their playing while still keeping things fun. Jagged guitars, pounding keyboards, simple melodic bass runs and more pounding on the drums. Vocal work is amusing, intense, and even scary at times. This was my third time out and I have enjoyed the set every time. Nearly 40 people were here tonight including a surprisingly intense handful of dancers, so their work is slowly paying off. Crazy fun is heading a bit more toward serious fun.

Quote of the Night: Overheard at the bar... "I saw a bunch of fetuses, which put me off a bit."

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