Roky Moon & BOLT The Backroom at the Mink November 27, 2010
When we were all little, we had a piles of shoes and clothes that we outgrew, or those little tics on the kitchen wall where mom or dad would mark off how big we were getting.
The same thing happens to bands, we guess. You see them working their way up through flyers and lineups - opening a show at 8 p.m., then commanding their own mini-fest a year and a half later.
Roky Moon & BOLT are full-grown now, releasing their eponymous first full-length LP this past weekend. The first thing of theirs Aftermath ever owned was a CD-R with just three or four tracks, recorded on the fly. The first time we saw them live was at Walter's On Washington in March 2009. It was one of those shows that sticks in your brain, because you were smiling the whole time instead of scowling at the drama of it all.
Saturday night the band played their record-release show upstairs at the Mink, in the very spot they have been rehearsing for months now. Nine bands opened, upstairs and down. The venue was packed in the front room and the backroom.
Roky shirts were everywhere. Girls' purses had the new album peeking out the side, next to their cigarettes and make-up. The alleyway and patio around the Backroom was choked with smokers and drinkers, all laughs and happiness.
By the time the Ton Tons came on before Roky, around 11:30 p.m., the PA was shot. Fried. The downstairs set-up was running strong, with the Watermarks closing up their own Wall Of Sound set a few minutes before. We Were Wolves' Fu Manchu-style riffs seemed to be the last upstairs band whose sound was on point.
Someone threw a drink at the Tons' Asli Omar, causing a small fray up front. Houston, thank you for being you, breaking up the fun times with some good old-fashioned fucked-up dramatics. What would the show be without people getting into testy arguments over Lone Stars and Camel Crushes?
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Blown PA system and all, Roky's set started with "Hot Saturday Night." Sound techs were working feverishly to get the board back up to par In the back of the room, but the only thing we could hear was coming from the band's amps up front, and even that struggling to fill the room. You could tell lead singer Moon was busting a nut to get out the words - no vocals, but he was shouting his lungs out.
By song two, he expressed doubts about wanting to go on, but the band ended up continuing. Everyone in Houston (or in the room) has been hearing these songs for months now, and we could fill in the blanks like reverse karaoke.
Even with the weird silences, up front you could hear the new sax addition wailing, Cassie Hargrove's piano plinking away and drummer Jeoaf Johnson's drums thrashing in time.
BOLT is looking into doing a make-up date at another venue soon, possibly Fitzgerald's, but nothing is set in stone. It was heartbreaker for them, but it's not so bad when you are surrounded by hundreds of folks who love you. Obviously it wasn't the best turn of events, but put if you put the night in perspective, it's a win.
Everyone will stick behind these kids, through thick and thin, and those bitching at the sound guys and wanting their money back be damned. Roky Moon & BOLT have cultivated a following now that will now move with them wherever they may roam.
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Personal Bias: It's Roky Moon, duh.
The Crowd: Almost the whole Houston indie scene, plus a few curious visitors. We even saw Houston radio personality David Sadof there, donning his old leather jacket.
Overheard In the Crowd: "When can dudes start wearing leggings?"
Random Notebook Dump: We witnessed our first Houston Party Crashers appearance, but couldn't tell if the crowd was annoyed or just disinterested. It was like the Bill O'Reilly of party-crashing.