In Aftermath's opinion, there are few things more enjoyable than spending an evening together with friends at the beloved haunt that is the Mink. We're able to toss back a drink or four, catch up on each other's lives, and hopefully hear some really great music. So Friday night, we gladly made our way out to the corner of Main and Alabama to hear Springfield Riots, Ringo Deathstarr, and The Factory Party, along with the hopes that we would get to hear some new stories from the venue's lively door guys. As we had never partaken of the sounds of The Factory Party, we were pleased to finally experience this band's brand kinetic of post-punk. Yes, there might be plenty of groups out there today borrowing from Joy Division and New Order (much less Interpol), but we didn't locate too many chinks in this Houston-based quartet's musical armor. All of the core elements were present: the deep, thrumming bass lines; the chiming, echo-laden guitar riffs; strident, pained vocals; and the sort of relentless, syncopated drumming that forced us to dance no matter how hard we resisted. Most importantly, we were impressed by how proudly (and almost defiantly) the act wore its heart and influences on its collective sleeve. Not only was the show nice and loud, but also The Factory Party performed with a markedly eager and unafraid abandon, and that certainly speaks of good things to come in the future. Next up was Ringo Deathstarr, an outfit that we unearthed back in March 2009 at SXSW while hanging out in a dingy East Austin cantina, waiting for someone else to play. We were floored by the gloriously skuzzy fuzzed-out wall of sound dredged up by these four Austin-area youngsters, so we jumped at the chance to hear them here in Houston. Though you could see a glimmer of fatigue in their eyes, as this was the last night of a non-stop, three-week tour across eastern America (including playing five shows in three days at CMJ), the band still brought the requisite noise, feedback, and energy. Fusing together key aspects of Sonic Youth, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine for a delightful candy coating, the group retains a classic pop center that is really tasty. Call it slo-fi, glo-fi, or even shit-gaze, but we prefer to think of it as really vibrant, powerful music, like the angry buzz of a beehive attacking you atop the pulse of a pounding rhythm section. Closing out the night was Springfield Riots and this quintet's take on alt-country inspired indie-rock. Playing through five of the six songs of the Say When EP, the band lit up the friendly audience with a breezy style of smart, clean, and confident pop music reminiscent of Wilco'sSummerteeth
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. It was plain to see that everyone was having a great time, from the band hamming it up on stage to the crowd calling out songs, singing lyrics, and buying the musicians more booze. "Mixtape Melody" and "Party Violence" drew the loudest cheers, and we were happy to hear the guys play "Pull-ups and Chin-ups," a tune from their still-in-the-works new full-length record. What we like most about this group is not only does it play a lighter version of bar rock (one that's minus a few key clichés), but it also knows how to let loose and jam, but (only when truly necessary). In the end, what more could we have asked for? Cheap bottles of Lone Star, three exuberant rock bands, and lots of laughter all came together for a great pre-Halloween night of revelry.