Ringo Deathstarr, New York City Queens, Featherface, Olajuwon Walter's February 23, 2012
Ringo Deathstarr drowned Walters in honey-sweet reverberation Thursday, with the volume turned up as if they were playing to a packed venue. The crowd was sparse but mighty, with most of the audience looking anything but indifferent.
I would have liked to see more people at this event. Granted, a couple of other bands and DJ sets were happening last night, but nothing that really stuck out, in my opinion. Around the first act, I felt as if I were watching some kind of indie show in Dallas. To my experience, the audiences for these shows, even with bigger acts, are all the same, being... next to nonexistent. Step it up, Houston.
Locals Olajuwon, formerly known as Tigerparty, opened the night around 9 p.m. This fairly new band, about five months old, showed their love of basketball through indie rock, playing songs titled like "Charles Barkley School of Music" and, well, their name. I don't think their songs were actually about basketball, but that doesn't matter.
Next on the bill was local band Featherface, mostly playing songs off of their second EP. Their psych-rock sound sets itself apart through a richly textured energetic yet woozy sound that has the power to place minds elsewhere, without the drugz, as good music should.
While remaining experimental, these guys provided justly placed pop-ish hooks in their songs to keep me just that, hooked.
New York City Queens, also local, followed with a less distorted, more melodic sound. Lead singer John Stevens, whose birthday was last night, provided great vocals, particularly successfully varying from higher- to lower-pitched singing while performing final song "Roman Candles." All three well-pitched vocalists were neither drowned out nor overpowered by their own jangly yet melodic guitar riffs.
By the headlining act, the audience had tripled, and by tripled I mean from say about five people to a little more than 15. The stage was set up with a large stack of amplifiers, with what seemed to be one of the amplifiers covered in a large Rising Sun Flag design.
When Ringo Deathstarr began playing their set, they immediately wrapped the audience in a wall of dripping distortion, which is pretty much the formula for good shoegaze music. For the most part, they stayed true to their recorded material, adding maybe just a bit more distortion for the sake of their music being live.
Granted, with a swift Google search pre-writing this review, they have been criticized by several sources as being a replica of My Bloody Valentine. That is their sound, shoegaze, but they seem to draw from other influences too.
I was kind of mesmerized when one of their songs seemed to open with a similar screech as Gang of Four's "Anthrax". Whatever they are trying to sound like, they're doing it well.
Personal Bias: None, really. I hadn't heard much of any of these bands before last night.
The Crowd: Kool kidz, or something like that.
Random Notebook Dump: It is apparently someone's birthday.
Overheard in the Crowd: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN!!" It was New York City Queens lead singer John Stephens' birthday. Happy belated birthday, John Stephens!
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Olajuwon Can't Hurt the Wolf Part 2 Someone for Me Lorna Mangus Houston/Success Papi Chulo Charles Barkley School of Music
Featherface Something Shiny And You're Lying To Yourself Youthful Offender (The Men We Will Be) Breach Foxing Thinning the Air Around Them
New York City Queens