If you were able to pull yourself away from the Pride Parade on Saturday and make your way downstream to Numbers, you were greeted with a few instrumental surprises. Admittedly, it wasn’t easy to leave the festivities along Westheimer, which is why we missed hometown heroes Sharks & Sailors and caught the end of Baltimore’s Ponytail. The group kept the crowd’s attention mostly because it was hard to take your eyes off frontwoman Molly Siegel, who flailed about tossing her short black hair all over her face as she did everything but sing. Siegel seemed to be impersonating a banshee with her high-pitched yells, shrieks and shrills that almost upstaged Ponytail’s Mike Patton/Sonic Youth inspired instrumental punk rock.
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Speaking of Mike Patton, the night finished off with Battles, featuring Tomahawk and former Helmet drummer John Stanier. The band lived up to every rumor that follows them, putting on a live show that was as impressive as their musicianship. Along with Stanier, the group also features avant-garde keyboardists/vocalist/guitarist Tyondai Braxton and Don Caballero guitarist/keyboardist Ian Williams. Their sound blends the complicated instrumentation you’d expect from artists of their caliber with a rock vibe that makes it accessible to both non-aficionados and well-versed music students. – Dusti Rhodes