Friday night at the Mink, one Houston band prepared to venture out into the world outside the Loop like a child going off to school for the first time, while another one was delivered unto us with fierce, happy birthing spasms the likes of which we hadn't seen before. As Roky Moon & BOLT took their steps out the Houston door for a month-long tour, Weird Party unfurled their sweat-stained flag just two hours before.
Weird Party's set began with five minutes of feedback as the band got their shit together onstage and looked for bassist Dirty Jeff to walk out of the mist. If it wasn't for effect, then we feel stupid for even mentioning it, but if it was done on purpose then it did its job getting Aftermath in the right chaotic headspace they were in.
What came next was 30 to 40 minutes of Shellac and Jesus Lizard-inspired mania, complete with lead singer and former Fatal Flying Guilloteen Shawn Adolph stalking his stage space the way we remembered back in the FFGs' '00s heyday. "Sarah Palin" and "Pale Brunette" already both sound like old-fashioned face-rippers, and Weird Party's 90-second stab at Nirvana's "Very Ape" tied everything up in a tidy package.
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Note to self: Let's not drink a can of the reverse energy drink Drank before a show on the caliber of Weird Party. All we did was sit in front next to the amps and grin like a mellow idiot, when we rightfully should have been showering people with beer and grinding our hips on man and woman alike. Weird Party's next show is coming up on March 25 with the like-minded Black Congress. Don't wear white to that one. We can't help but wonder what the rest of the country will think when they see BOLT. For a year now, we at Rocks Off have gone on a glam odyssey with them and watched their sound evolve from rubbing the two simple Bolan and Bowie sticks together to now making a full-on Thin Lizzy and Meat Loaf-stoked wildfire. The glamminess is still at the fore, but now we hear swatches of Springsteen and even Roxy Music. Each member of BOLT plays with a tightness, from Roky "Mike Hardin" Moon's barrel-chested Belushi-by-way-of-Mercury crooning, Cassaundra Hargrove's manic piano, Aaron Echegaray's Mick Ronson-style guitars filling Moon's spaces, drummer Jeoaf Johnson's light/hard touch and Chad Pinter's simple bass rumbles.
We have heard "Lives Like Ours" open most shows, from the Continental Club to Summerfest 2009, but it doesn't get any less jarring. When Johnson jump-starts the band with his slow gallop and then Moon starts preaching, you don't move. Moon plays to the entire room, reaching for the non-plussed dude nursing a beer in the very back right up to the sloshed devotees down front hanging on every line. The only thing missing live is a brass section, but we wouldn't be surprised if that's coming by the end of the year. The whole upstairs at the Mink blew up for "Hot Saturday Night" with man and biker alike hanging from the rafters or wading in beer and chunks of glass like it was Spring Break 1996 in Cancun. That's where the Boss kicked in and we wished Moon could slide across the stage ala so many live "Born To Run" clips of we have pored over on YouTube. Over three minutes, the song goes from up-tempo indie jam to full-fledged '70s freakout. BOLT upped their game for this gig, and now carry it with them for the rest of the nation to see.