No Age Fitzgerald's January 12, 2010
For more pics from last night's show, including lots of crowd shots, check out our No Age slideshow.
We are only a little less than two weeks into 2011, and Aftermath may have seen the first best show of the year, with 50 weeks left to go, with the show No Age show turned in last night. In terms of sheer, blunt-force happiness and volume, it's going to hard for another band to come into town and put on that same caliber of gig but the year is young.
This was by our estimate the first Houston visit by the L.A. duo, turned into a live trio with electrical backing by a sideman. Their first studio release, Weirdo Rippers, came in 2007. Their breakthrough LP, Nouns, followed the next year. The band is currently working and touring behind their new expansive disc, Everything In Between, which hit just last September.
Leading off with a wash of noise before a primed pit of people downstairs at Fitzgerald's, the band opened with "Life Prowler" from Everything, and the crowd up front turned into a mass of hair and sweat. Jackets and hoodies were thrown onto the stage for safe keeping. Beer was flying, spittle was launching. We sat a few feet away and were waiting for someone or something to throw us into the pile of people.
The band's calling card, "Teen Creeps" off Nouns, sort of took us back to the days downstairs at Fitz where it was dangerous to jump in a punk or hardcore pit, which was refreshing. No Age's debt to the chaos of hardcore with that underlying river of nerdiness made a perfect warming stew to bathe in while the temperatures were dipping into the low 30s on the patio a few feet away. We were still waiting on that guiding hand into the pit. More on that latter.
Check out the ex-band of the core nucleus of No Age, Wives, to feel where that may be coming from. Dean Spunt and Randy Randall's last release with Wives, 2005's Erect The Youth Problem, holds the template for the sound of No Age to come.
A line of new songs from Everything came up next, "Fever Dreaming", "Depletion", and "Common Heat." We had read tales of other crowds not warming up to the recent stuff, but Houston didn't seem to waiver last night. As long as it had a beat and you could dance to it, the boys and girls up front keep screaming. From note one, this show was infectious.
You can describe No Age as basically the Ramones split in half, with Dee Dee in rehab. With the bruddahs from New York playing right before as intro jams, we quickly made that deduction, which you can mark as dim, but it came from the gut.
An hour into the set, the sound bleed from Robert Ellis & The Boys upstairs was filling the room between songs. You could hear Merle and Waylon fist-fighting up top while a real fight was breaking out in front of No Age's drum kit.
The band played over their time with an encore that drug us from the patio and into the pit within a span of ten seconds. Covers of Black Flag's "Six Pack" and the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments" have a way of doing that to a man.
We found over those five minutes we no longer have the lung capacity to go from smoking a cigarette outside to jumping into a pit with 22 year-olds, but that won't be stopping us in the future. They closed with their own "Boy Void" from the Weirdo Rippers LP before walking off the stage dripping.
Now where the hell are our keys?
Personal Bias: We like loud, fun noises.
The Crowd: The usual Houston drunks and indie kids, plus Spoon's Britt Daniel walking around in white pants and a leather jacket.
Overheard In the Crowd: "You are heavier than I thought."
Random Notebook Dump: We have never seen so many goddamned happy people in one place that wasn't a playground or a Justin Bieber show.
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