Islands, Steel Phantom, Active Child Mango's July 5, 2010
Mango's is a terrible venue, and it made a picture-perfect setting for Islands' sticky and infectiously energetic set last night. Shitty acoustics, views obstructed by support beams, fans sitting on the floor, and cramped quarters despite a somewhat modest crowd gave the show the feel of a house party in some dude's basement rec room (not that Houston's water table is high enough for basement rec-rooms).
Once Aftermath was ushered into the relative oasis of Mango's after waiting 45 minutes in a tiny parking lot on Westheimer for the opening act to sound-check, it wasn't long before Steel Phantoms launched into a set propelled by herky-jerky rhythms, interesting vocal tradeoffs between front man Yos Munro and Islands drummer Aaron Harris, and a general sense of impending chaos. It was like channeling low-rent Modern Lovers through post-punk revivalist shades, and the crowd dug it.
Aftermath knows we shouldn't allow ourselves to be swayed by such silly predispositions, but as soon as Active Child began setting up, we were filled with misgivings. We'll admit it, it was the small harp that made us roll our eyes, and we feel kinda bad about that. Our fears were not entirely unfounded, though - the harp proved to be a somewhat silly accoutrement in the confines of Mango's, sounding no different than a similarly played keyboard part as it bounced off of the hard, close-in surfaces.