Holy Wave at Mango's, 11/17/2013
Photos by Nathan Smith
Holy Wave, Lochness Mobsters, Infinite Apaches Mango's November 17, 2013
Under threat of another Monday, sometimes nothing prepares you for the start of another work week like a thorough squeegeeing of the old third eye. It was already difficult to shake the feeling that I was tripping on Sunday after witnessing local goat Matt Schaub inserted into the Texans' game, so heading over to Mango's in the evening for a triple stack of fuzzed-out psych rock felt as natural as the essential interconnectedness of the universe.
The evening's entertainment over on Westheimer came courtesy of the latest tour stop by the Austin psych crew Holy Wave, along with their fellow capitol residents the Lochness Mobsters and locals Infinite Apaches. The show promised a heroic dosage of guitar freakouts and lysergic light shows, and despite a sore lack of LSD in my brain for their performances, the mysterious disappearance of my debit card from my wallet managed to trip me out enough to get me into the spirit of things.
After a typically groovy and eclectic set from the familiar faces in the Apaches, the Lochness Mobsters tuned up. During soundcheck, the former Lake Charles trio repeatedly asked for the reverb to be turned up. The effect cast a predictably wet and washy funk over the band's punked-up brand of '60s power-pop.
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As an analog recording of the orgiastic final scene of Scarface played on the projection screen behind them, the Mobsters bashed away on raucous garage tunes that recalled the Kinks and the Animals. Early on, the band was having so much fun banging out their high-energy take on throwback rock that guitarist Taylor Lumpkin's axe came unplugged a couple of times.
Some of the band's vocal harmonies sounded like guesswork under all the clanging cymbals and jangling fuzz, but the Mobsters' upbeat vibe proved infectious. Somehow, their acid-washed primitivism made even the ending to Scarface seem somehow hopeful.
When Holy Wave arrived on the venue's small stage next, they, too, requested all the reverb that the soundman could handle. But unlike the other acts on the bill, Holy Wave elected to play in darkness, with only the light of the projection screen illuminating them.
It was a good move. The lava-lamp flickering of the projection cast Fillmore-like electric kool-aid acid washes over the quintet, turning the tiny club into a darkened tunnel into the center of the mind. One wishes that a more appropriate video could have been procured than the ancient Billy Blanks Tae Bo workout that was shown, but then again it was awfully hard to claim that it wasn't weird.
Review continues on the next page.
More Holy Wave (we swear)
Friends and acquaintances of the band danced up front as Holy Wave let loose a waterfall of sopping wet guitars over a steady, freight-train drumbeat that set hips in motion. As workout warriors pumped and flexed to the music behind them, the band spiraled into hard-strumming crescendos that seemed to have no end -- just the kind of rave-ups one expects from an Austin-based psych band. When it comes to oceans of fuzz, Holy Wave delivers.
For added psychedelic effect, the band members regularly traded instruments during the set and took turns on the microphone, too. Their songs were kept pretty simple, with throbbing bass lines providing a rigid backbone upon which to hang layers of vintage synth and fuzzy distortion. When the band hit the hyperdrive toggle and sped through its last and best psych jam of the evening, the night seemed to end just as it was peaking.
Now, in the light of Monday morning, the comedown seems harsh. But with Holy Wave and the Lochness Mobsters encamped a scant 160 miles to the northwest, can another musical trip to the Bayou City be far behind?
Let's ditch the Tae Bo next time.
Personal Bias: Square.
The Crowd: Small, but loose.
Overheard In the Crowd: "That looks like the fuckin' Tae Bo guy!"
Random Notebook Dump: How is it that Mango's feels smaller every time I go there?
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