Making math rock at Fulcrum
My first hot-night show of the summer: Overgrown haircuts sticking to shiny faces and school’s-out smiles, all crammed into the friendly confines of Fulcrum for a tour kickoff party for The Americas and Birds of Fire.
In the case of B.O.F., Chico’s jazzy and noisy all-instrumental trio, it takes seeing them play three or four times just to get a handle on the songs. Less loose and improv-sounding than previously, guitarist Matt Daugherty and bass player Zack Ahern tightened things up considerably, and the result was a direct punch of repetitive and forceful progressions that would screech and veer off in the same old crazy directions, but with a directness and high level of energy that suggested the guys were ready for the road.
And the Americas… Good God, I can only imagine how first-timers to the duo’s energetic fits will react as they slingshot through songs like this night’s closer, the classic “The Grueling Task of Mending Chicken Wire.” The Americas are not wasteful. Guitarist/ vocalist Travis Wuerthner and drummer Casey Dietz use every note of sound, sop up every drop of sweat and step on every crack. Using impossibly fast and bunched-up chord progressions, whiplash stops and starts and flawless time-signature mathematics in each composition, the Americas create powerful, beautiful, unique little symphonies.
Speaking of fitting a lot into a song, local nice guy Curtis Zinn (formerly of Stars Upon Thars and currently playing guitar with Aubrey Debauchery) has been woodshedding a complex patchwork of new songs at home and has recently assembled the new four-piece Oubliette Perish (including A.D. band mate Aubrey Pope) to start sharing the time-signature-busting tunes with the rest of us. CN&R’s Mark Lore summed up this night’s demo: “It goes along with all these changes, with no vocals, then Aubrey screams at the top of her lungs—it rocks.”