Wild Moccasins, Young Mammals, Young Girls & DJ Bagheera Numbers February 8, 2014
"This is a really, really good song...kinda." Those were the words of singer/guitarist Pete Tijerina of Young Girls, the night's opening band. That statement would not only ring true for the openers, but also for every band on Saturday night's bill, a cross-section the best indie/post-punk pop talent that Houston has to offer.
Neither terribly young nor ladylike, Young Girls is a bearded group of rockers delivering a sound that transports the listener back to a simpler time in music, when synths didn't exist and the straightforward clashing of drums and guitar proved enough to keep fans substantially entertained.
"We're gonna sing our new 7-inch EP for you now, in its entirety," Tijerina said, smiling wide and downing swigs of Lone Star in between each two-minute song. Released on January 28th, the EP is a cool and fast sample of everything that is right about rock, including driving but not overbearing guitar riffs, a bass line that keeps your feet shuffling, and simple yet captivating lyrics.
Young Mammals followed with music that was a little faster, a little harder and a lot more psychedelic. With a persuasive mix of chaos and smooth, the rockers thrive in louder environments, expanding their sound from the garage to the stage with ease. Their style could be described as "determined" rock, with enough energy to power an entire city block or, at the very least, keep the packed house at Numbers rocking and rolling hard during their brief set.
In between sets, and again to close out the evening, EDM selector DJ Bagheera supplied a combination of hip-hop, funk, trance, house, chillwave and disco. Jumping from Lauryn Hill's "Lost Ones," to Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack" to Naughty By Nature's "Hip-Hop Hooray," he shifted the party perfectly and without skipping a beat. Long afterward, after the headliners ended their performance, Bagheera's mix of Janet Jackson, Madonna, and Prince kept the party going until last call.
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The stars of the night's were of course Houston's indie darlings the Wild Moccasins, as this was a celebration of sophomore album 88 92, which was recorded at SugarHill Studios and released by New West Records last week. Vibrant and springy, the album expands the Moccasins' electro-pop sound that cemented them a spot on tour with indie giants Of Montreal, yet also includes a spattering of dark and introspective feelings.
Their music feels fun and free, like those beautiful summer days between high school and college when a young Houstonian could meander around the city like a runaway wind, visiting friends, going out, and eating and drinking without a care. The Moccasins' perfectly constructed melodies could serve as the soundtrack for the next award-winning indie film, or headline any number of hipster festivals around the country.
Saturday's set included at least one track from each of the band's previous releases, but mostly consisted of their newest release. Lead singers Cody Swann and Zahira Gutierrez created a soft and formative bond when introducing each dreamy track, sharing the spotlight while at the same time showcasing their own touch of vocal bliss and style.
Gutierrez dazzled us with the flowery Spanish of the new track "Real," telling of a niña preciosa (precious girl) with an untruthful tongue. The singer/keyboardist's energy captivated the crowd's attention and admiration with a voice like Debbie Harry and dance moves like Karen O. Jumpy, emotional, and altogether lovely, her natural talent for performing will most certainly keep the Wild Moccasins successful for many years to come.
Meanwhile, Swann's ghostly rendition of 88 92's title track showcases his ability to lure you in with a calm and collected esteem, while at the same time filling the air with delicately strummed notes from his guitar. Both singers expose their hearts during every song, with their voice, facial expressions, and overall love and confidence in their music.
Energetic, beautiful, danceable and sweet-sounding indie-rock. Music that recalls a younger time, unburdened, natural and groovy. Music lovers beyond Houston will certainly hear the Wild Moccasins' "emergency broadcast" very, very soon.
Review continues on the next page.
Personal Bias: Happy indie music makes me happy, even when it's not, or I'm not.
The Crowd: Montrose personified. Also a handful of H-Town's most talented, including Kam Franklin (The Suffers), Asli Omar (The Tontons), B L A C K I E (all caps, no spaces), and Chapy (Los Skarnales). A great night for music in the city.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I wonder how much bank Lone Star Beer makes at one of these gigs. It must be through the roof!"
Random Notebook Dump: One of the few times that I decided to forgo inserting ear plugs into my aural orifices for safety, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
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