Seeing that Aftermath is childless (we hope), it's a rare occasion for us to see something be birthed before our very eyes. Sure, we have probably unwittingly been around for some conceptions, but never a full-on screaming mama genesis like we saw and heard Friday night at the Mink. In what was billed as their coming out party, Passengers played a good 40 minutes of straight-ahead drug rock right out of the Josh Homme playbook. Invoking the good name of the Queens Of The Stone Age mastermind isn't something we throw around mindlessly either. Guitars cascaded through the room and the vocals sounded like woozy declarations and indictments. The drums were ferociously robotic and seemed to be played with tree trunks, Bonzo-style. The first two songs were wobbly at parts, but we're chalking that up to the fact that this was the band's first public exposition. By the last three songs of the set, there was a tight-ass organ and harmonica groove settling in we hope the boys chase down the rabbit hole. It's a shame that Passengers didn't find their way onto this Saturday's Warlocks gig at Walter's, because if anybody in this town that can step up to that band's heady drone-fest, it's them.
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Closing out was Roky Moon & Bolt, in what we heard will be their last show for the next couple of months. The band is currently in the studio finishing up a split release with Ghost Town Electric and working on an (gasp!) honest-to-Gawd rock opera. A Houston-centric song cycle in their suitably Bowie and Bolan-influenced hands already sounds like something we will be pimping out relentlessly upon its completion. Short bursts of it can already be heard during their live shows, and it will interesting to see how the studio will treat these rave-ups.
These boys and girl have taken the Best New Artist award you guys bestowed on them at the HPMA's to heart and are working on stuff that will daintily and sweetly melt off your faces.