HoZac Records Presents w/ K-Holes, Xray Eyeballs, My Teenage Stride, Making Friendz
Thursday, June 16
Better Than: Losing on a walk-off balk.
Half the fun of going to a show at Shea Stadium is walking to Shea Stadium. It’s better when there’s no one around except for you and the warehouses, so that when you turn from Waterbury onto Meadow you feel momentarily out of place until the venue’s dimly lit staircase reveals itself. It’s even better when what awaits you after walking up that staircase are the likes of K-Holes and Xray Eyeballs.
However, when Tami Hart’s project Making Friendz took the stage to begin last night’s HoZac Records showcase (part of the Northside Festival), it appeared as if the show might end up stolen before either of those bands had entered the building. Backed by her producer and sometimes bandmate hammering away at his Akai synth, it at first seemed as though the small Shea Stadium stage existed only for her to avoid; she refused to let the small crowd of early arrivers keep her from crawling and rolling across the stone-tiled floor. She was rewarded with a stray quarter and, I suspect, a room full of new fans.
My Teenage Stride followed with a quick set of six enjoyable, functional, guitar-bass-drum indie rock songs. They never found their groove and knew as much (“We’re playing bad tonight,” singer/guitar player Jed Smith joked two songs in), playing the kind of hurried set—in which the band is able to do little more than run through what’s streaming on their MySpace or Bandcamp—that is too often par for the course at festivals like Northside. Despite, say, not taking the time to tune his 12-string between songs, Smith’s self-deprecating sense of humor was endearing enough to merit seeing the group again in another, more hospitable context.
Xray Eyeballs, on the other hand, wasted little time with banter, with singer O.J. San Felipe only yelling out things like “Four Loko!” and “Who likes acid?” from time to time. Fittingly, when the band opened with Not Nothing‘s “Egyptian Magician,” only the song’s “Let’s all get high” refrain cut through the the guitar enough to be audible. Throughout the set, the drummer stood out, seemingly throwing his limbs into a metronomic cruise control that provided a direction when the band seemed as it were on the verge of reverberating aimlessly.
Still, it was up to K-Holes to outdo the performance with which Making Friendz began the night. K-Holes filled the stage with five people, including a saxophonist and a singer who doubled on the maracas. The band played hard and violent, as if trying to kick down the door that separated their cacophony from the realm of pure noise, only to find that they had been on the side of noise all along. The band reveled in this noise. What else would you do with maracas, a sax run through a delay pedal, a bass player willingly to play chords when necessary and no one around except your fans and the warehouses?
Overheard: “Who brings wite-out with them into the bathroom,” referring, as I would realize a few seconds later, to edits from the extended Palestine debate taking place on the wall above the toilet in the Shea Stadium bathroom.
Random notebook dump: After the show I was considering buying one of K-Holes’ cassettes, suspecting that the format would either make the band sound much better or much worse than they did on mp3. Does anyone out there have an informed opinion on this?