Last Night: Holy F**k At Walter's On Washington

Holy Fuck, Indian Jewelry, Balaclavas Walter's on Washington September 12, 2010

Holy Fuck is a band, a swear word and a pretty good marketing ploy. Chances are when you hear a name like that, you won't soon forget it. That's why Aftermath was at the noisefest that was Balaclavas, Indian Jewelry, and Holy Fuck at Walters on Washington Sunday. And it's why our ears are still ringing well into today.

Sunday's three bands share one thing in common: A love of noise. Now, experimental noise-rock doesn't necessarily wet our whistle, but here's what we do like: Two-thirds of Sunday's lineup was Houston-based, and the city would do well to have a dozen more bands just like them.

Balaclavas and Indian Jewelry are making a name for themselves with intense and often gloomy cacophonies of occasionally harmonious noises, and both it damn well. Three cheers for experimentation and anything that brings interest to Houston's musical culture.

The night opened with Balaclavas, who took a little bit to really hit their mark as they ventured away from the keyboards and towards guitars. Repetitive though it was, the music was catchy and got the crowd moving, no small feat for an opening band.

Indian Jewelry drew possibly the largest crowd of the night and quickly launched headfirst into their strobe-light attack on the audience. Their music was dark, eerie and haunting in a way that recalled teenage angst. Except this was grown-up angst, complex and sad.

When Holy Fuck took the stage, larger strobe-light effects appeared and panic began to set in. Luckily, their elaborate light setup was beautifully programmed to accent the music, creating a trance-like club setting. But the programmed light sticks were not even the most interesting things to appear onstage during their set.

The Canadian experimental dance/noise-pop/math-rock group is well known for creating music out of the high-pitched pings and whistles of children's toys, and they played that V Tech "Little Smart Alphabet Desk" in a way that no preschooler ever could. Holy Fuck's dueling keyboardists deftly managed several types of keyboards too, sometimes switching mid-song, once picking up what looked to be a keytar with a mouth hose attached because, well, why not?

And did we mention that they "played" a film strip? Played like an instrument, like it was meant to play music all along. If you don't get distracted by the lights and the toys, you realize that Holy Fuck lay down some pretty divine dance beats.

Even though keyboardist Brian Borcherdt holds the mike between his teeth and wails instead of putting lyrics over it, it's still dance-worthy and, dare we say, mainstream enough to sell you a car (a Chrysler, perhaps). And dance the crowd did, on the stage and everywhere else.

Personal Bias: A name like Holy Fuck just piques our interest.

The Crowd: At first, mostly just the bands and their friends. Later, it was all part-time hipsters with a few handlebar mustaches thrown in for legitimacy. On the ground, Converse won the shoe battle, outnumbering the competition 2:1.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Follow the sch-mell," slurred at someone asking for the bathroom.

Random Notebook Dump: "Oh God, they are setting up more lights."

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Alex Begley
Contact: Alex Begley