Saturday: 21st Annual KTRU Outdoor Show At Rice University

KTRU Outdoor Show Rice University March 17, 2012

In spite of groovy, spacey melodies and an air of mystery about their set, emphasized in part by the lack of overhead light during their performance, the Lower Dens got the short end of the stick at the 21st annual KTRU Outdoor Show. Before the band was even set up onstage inside, people were already packing tightly around the outside stage for Slim Thug's impending performance.

After a 45-minute long set by his DJ, which had ladies from the crowd climbing onto the stage and dancing, the Boss began his set with "Houston," the single he, Paul Wall and Z-Ro released after the Texans clinched their first ever playoff birth, followed by "Like A Boss." The rest of his show was filled with well-known hits like "Still Tippin'" and "Three Kings," and a few oldies and shoutouts to the likes of DJ Screw were interspersed throughout for his more militant fans.

Our musically schizophrenic day began many hours earlier with The Demonic Hen, a group of freshly picked (read: young) vegetables (and one turtle?) who advised listeners of the importance of good nutrition. Knitting their message together with heavy guitar riffs, the oddly dressed ensemble, which resembled a parody of those old Hanes commercials, kept the crowd's attention for the entirety of their set.

Their name, we later learned, is actually something of an homage -- a misunderstanding, really -- to Houston's own the Manichean. The Demonic Hen's founding member, whom we will refer to by his dress as Eggplant, is a big fan of that group.

At his first Manichean show, when front man Cory Sinclair belted out, "We are 'the-maw-nuh-key-in," Eggplant heard, "We are Demonic Hen." So when Eggplant realized that the coolest band name he had ever heard wasn't actually spoken for, he rounded up a group of vegans and vegetarians and, under the heavy theatrical influence of GWAR, decided they would don costumes to inform the world of the of the significance of a healthy diet.

Crazy as it sounds, it actually worked. Though, we won't be eating an eggplant any time soon. No matter how much we enjoyed the set, our taste buds just won't take that leap.

Portland's The Thermals make our ears perk up with their upbeat, indie melodies spread thinly under singer Hutch Harris' high-pitched vocal lines. By far, they were our favorite performance of the day.

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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever