Aftermath: Wild Moccasins at Walter's on Washington
Photos courtesy of Kimi Hernsberger
They kind of sound like the last day of school, don't they? Or, you know, those animal shapes you punch out of a fruit roll-up? They sound like that. The visceral anticipation of something great. Wild Moccasins brought their infectiously youthful exuberance to a sold-out Walter's Friday night, equipped with free pizza, free cupcakes, and oh yeah, a free copy of their debut (and fantastic) EP, Microscopic Metronomes.
Following a terrific set by Houston's own Buxton, who deserve an entire post rather than a mere mention as one of the best opening bands I've ever seen, Wild Moccasins supplied us the reasons that the Houston indie music scene is about to be reckoned with.
It must be hard being a pop band in Houston, at least a pop band with even rudimentary designs on relevance, what with a long and storied history of successful hip-hop, blues and country artists' dominance of the city's musical narrative. Bringing change to the Houston music scene is tantamount to a week without rain - it just doesn't happen that often.
But when it does, it needs to be seized upon and celebrated. And that's exactly what seems to be happening with Wild Moccasins, who, along with the audiences at their la-da-dee-da shows, are bringing life to what can often be called a, to put it mildly, stagnant local indie scene.
The very first beat of the drum turned Friday's crowd frenetic, and about halfway into the opener, "Late Night Television," it was as if the entire audience became one pulsating tap shoe, jumping and twirling and smiling together as if the world didn't matter. Only the night did. Second song "Mailman" gave lead vocalists Cody Swann and Zahira Gutierrez their fitful opportunity to do what they do best - be totally adorable.
They harmonize beautifully, sort of the way the Beach Boys would if they had a female lead and road bicycles instead of surfboards and didn't do a shit load of coke. Swann and Gutierrez sing to each other as much as to the crowd, and the chemistry they have is palpable.
The Moccasins worked their way through the set list with ease and intelligence, going from the slow and meandering "Spanish and Jazz" - where Gutierrez sounds eerily similar to Asobi Seksu; seriously, it's amazing - picking up with the new "Psychic China," onto the always-popular "My Favorites Die"
That's something even seasoned musicians have a hard time getting right, but Wild Moccasins are musically mature beyond their years. They're cultivating an ethos of merrymaking, holding the audience's collective hand, playing hop-scotch at dusk.
Before their final two (new) songs, "Shiny Strings," and "Fruit Tea," Wild Moccasins released the balloons (the literal kind), and gave us "Born Blonde," in my opinion the song that translates best live. It felt like a celebration of Houston, of youth, of what is possible. It was everything great about the world wrapped up into four minutes.
Jubilation and faith in music. Ecstasy and the feeling that if this is where Houston music is headed... phew. What a relief.
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