Aftermath: The Dirty Novels and Reverberation DJs (and the Cops) at the Pachinko Room

Houston's Passengers were not shut down by Johnny Law Friday night.
Houston's Passengers were not shut down by Johnny Law Friday night.
Brittanie Shey

Never mind that the Pachinko Room isn't a room at all. It's more like a backyard. So when you're booking an "early show" that "starts at 8 p.m." but really starts at 10 p.m. you might want to be mindful of noise ordinances. The guys behind Reverberation have been getting more than their share of stage time lately, with multiple DJ gigs each week and members' bands opening for the likes of Roky Moon & Bolt. They also got to both open and close Friday's free show featuring The Dirty Novels after the Albuquerque band's set was cut short by The Fuzz. Oh well. At least no one paid to get in. At times channeling the garage-rock greats of Detroit, then switching to 1979 power-pop à la The Knack, The Dirty Novels played as frenetically as possible for half an hour, much to the delight of a costumed and extremely out-of-place-looking bachelorette party. That they fit nine of a dozen planned songs into the show tells you all you need to know. "It was a tight show," said guitarist Brian Keith. It's no surprise the cops shut 'em down. They played so loud that Aftermath was shamefully forced to make use of our foamy ear plugs like we were somebody's grandmother. After the show was shut down, the Reverberation DJs meekly took the stage to spin records at a somewhat muted level. Keith was not too disappointed by the interruption. He co-owns a bar in Albuquerque and has dealt with the law from a professional standpoint. But still, the band had come from a show and Mod dance party in New Orleans the night before, where they were encouraged to play until 4 a.m. The Dirty Novels go beyond formulaic vintage garage punk played by bands like The Hives by incorporating multiple influences - at times they sounded downright poppy. But they always rely on a style as gritty as their name implies. Singer Pablo Novelas (raised in El Paso) could stand to tone down the vocal dramatics. He whines and emotes, but he sounds best when he just sings. This is not a rookie's mistake - the band has been making music for seven years and has three albums under its belt. In that time they've gained national recognition playing with the MC5, Kings of Leon and Exene Cervenka. Their hometown influences include the Eyeliners and Scared of Chaka, the first band Keith saw when he moved to Albuquerque from California. "There's a tighter scene in New Mexico," he said. "I'd never move back to L.A."

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