UPDATE: Rocks Off incorrectly identified the former By the End of Tonight member now performng as LIMB as Jeff Wilson, not James Templeton. Our apologies to LIMB.
Tera Melos, TTNG, LIMB Fitzgerald's May 16, 2013
It's unusual to walk into a show where majority of the crowd is under legal drinking age, and Thursday's Tera Melos show happened to be one of those times. But despite the fact that most of the people at Fitzgerald's weren't drinking, the crowd was as fun and rambunctious as any.
Fitz's downstairs room was packed, with an attendance that hovered just over 75 percent of their capacity on Houston's first humid evening of the year.
The show kicked off around 9 p.m. with Houston's own LIMB, the solo project of
Jeff Wilson James Templeton. Templeton and Jeff Wilson were once part of By the End of Tonight, a Houston-area experimental post-rock group who released a split EP with Tera Melos in 2007.
In true experimental/noise-rock fashion, Wilson played on a drum kit surrounded by a half-circle of amps, PAs and various instruments used to play pre-recorded loops. But unlike most noise-rock acts, LIMB isn't one you can write off with a simple genre title.
After the first song, someone in the crowd leaned to his friend and said, "I don't know about this guy, he's kind of sloppy." And as if Wilson heard the comment himself, he worked out the kinks, then powered through a set that made that uncertain spectator bounce around like a beach ball.
Though it was sometimes hard to discern when one song ended and the next began, Wilson focused his energy on the emotion radiating from his performance. And truthfully, there's something dark and chaotic about LIMB; an aggression that strikes a chord and proves that words aren't always needed to evoke feeling and depth.
But even though the excited crowd gave LIMB an ovation, it couldn't have prepared TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns) for what was in store.
"You guys are so noisy," mused singer and bassist Henry Tremain.
Noisy didn't even describe the half of it. Once TTNG took the stage, arms went up, fans began shouting out song requests, and the entire crowd started moving in every direction possible. It's the kind of excitement you don't see often.
Truthfully, it's not hard to understand why. TTNG might be one of the most melodic math-rock bands out there, with Tremain crooning out lyrics as able-fingered guitarist Tim Collis performs in chaotic harmony alongside drummer and brother Chris Collis.
TTNG announced that the band would be changing its name in January to go with the release of their newest album, 18.104.22.168.0, citing discomfort with how their name and message could be misconstrued in other cultures.
But despite lineup and name changes, the humble trio from Oxford, England was constantly surprised at the reception from the crowd, and it was often hard to tell who was enjoying the show more.
The group played roughly eight songs that covered the span of their career, including favorites such as "Baboon," "I'll Take the Minute Snake," and "Havoc in the Forum," which the band dedicated to the crowd's many young couples.
But the true testament to TTNG's talent came when Tremain played both his guitar and bass at the same time, never missing a note.
"I believe you just lost your shit," Tremain said to a young man in the front row, who erupted with wild abandon after the group announced they'd be back later this year.
As TTNG closed out their set, it was almost painful to have to watch another band walk onstage and try to follow one that can perform complex time changes with such crisp, clean execution.