Aftermath: Box Elders at Mango's

Sometimes Aftermath gets so used to covering big venue rock shows that he temporarily forgets about just how small, intimate, and concise a show can actually be. That's why last nights Box Elders show was like a booster shot of reality before he commences a month of huge dumb shed shows and the return stands of a handful of alt-rock behemoths.

Omaha's Box Elders played for just over 30 minutes at Mango's, but it was refreshing little half-hour of fuzzy and exuberant garage pop, with a heady influence on that elusive "pop" angle. Elders songs may sound incredibly chaotic and under-produced, but that's what is so endearing about the three-piece. Drummer Dave Goldberg's manic stand-up drumming, coming off more like drum major, to the McIntyre brothers' claustrophobic bass and guitar wall of sound, there is not an ounce of fat to be found. Goldberg even does double-duty, holding down organ chores with one arm while the other pounds out a primitive beat on the snare and toms.

Over ten songs, the Elders set felt less like a show than five really killer and forgotten Nuggets-era 45's played in quick succession. Each song would have sounded amazing coming out of a tinny old portable turntable, where the vocals go hilariously in the red during each chorus and the drums get muddy when the guitars take over. "Hole In My Head" would have been one of those such songs leaking out of a garage 40 years ago. New track "Jackie Wood" from last months new Alice And Friends LP comes directly from the Black Lips/Jay Reatard School of Fuzz, with professor Phil Spector teaching a class on multi-tracking while on work furlough.

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