Live, in the dining room
Locals kick off tours with warm-up at Langolier house
Everyone loves a house show. For bands and for music fans, it’s probably the most fun and satisfying way to experience live music—an intimate, inhibition-free environment where audience and musicians work together to make a party.
And when the house show is in a home where the walls are literally padded (with egg crates and mattresses and blankets), you can be sure the party foundation is solid.
The walls of the Langolier are covered with padding, plus Sharpie scribblings and a giant banner spelling out “PIRATE” that welcomes you into the space—a large, bare, high-ceilinged living room of a two-story home, leading into a dining room “stage” with a backdrop of Alex de Large’s mischievous visage across a huge A Clockwork Orange poster.
Like most good house venues, the Langolier (formerly known as the Broken Glass House) was started by the punk community. The current roommates are all young punk enthusiasts/activists/musicians (and one vegan/straight-edge/stand-up comedian). Every month a steady schedule of local and touring punk, metal, noise and (some) indie rock bands set up on the dining room floor and keep the music scene pumping. As proper all-ages venues come and go, music houses keep all-ages live shows alive, and along with the Hell House, the Langolier has become a local music staple.
With only a couple dozen or so attendees nodding along throughout, the show wasn’t the typically high-spirited Langolier event, but there was a bundled-up, locals-only, holiday vibe that was very cozy for a tour warm-up for The Americas and Stationary Legs. The two local two-pieces are hitting the road together for a five-week saturation of the West Coast.
Also set to take the show on the road (for a week across the western states) was opener and stand-up comedian Chip Tankgirl (a.k.a. Charles H. Peckham V, a frequent CN&R contributor), and much of the night’s warmth came from his deadpan delivery of stories about girls and being vegan. Wearing a black Evil Dead shirt, the bushy-headed Tankgirl won everyone over (especially his mom, who was visiting Chico with dad and standing up front) by often making himself the punch line: “This actually happened—once my mother came in and said to me, ‘Chip, somebody wrote the B-word on my car. But I know it wasn’t you, because it was spelled right. If my car said B-I-C-H, you’d be in serious trouble.’ So I said to her, ‘Mom, one day I will be a stand-up comedian, and I will talk about this, and I will get laid. And I’m not going to lie, some of those things have happened.’ “
As is the rule at the Langolier, the sets were short and tight. Kyle and Jake of Stationary Legs had drums, amp and effects pedals in place and proceeded to carve up the place with their screaming, mathy, metallic, art-damaged noise rock. The arrangement acrobatics are fun to watch, and on this night, the tunes built on the sharper and less-diffused riff or rhythm foundations ("Urethra Franklin,” “Trucker’s Knot") were most satisfying.
Keeping things loose, Americas guitarist/vocalist Travis Wuerthner and drummer Casey Deitz riffed off each other in typical Americas fashion—locking in on some unspoken telepathic wavelength that lets them jump through more twisted arrangement hoops than this reviewer could keep track of. Add the accompaniment of the loop pedal and things get nearly out of control.
But that’s the fun of the Americas. Things are always nearly out of control—an ongoing indie-punk/ prog-rock experiment between two guys having fun dueling one another.
Show-goers at the Lobot in Oakland and Old Foundry in Bellingham, Wash., (and a couple dozen places in between) will likely be knocked out as these two dynamic duos will be representing Chico admirably. Both bands also have EPs of all-new recordings coming out in time for the tour, and if you catch one of their two upcoming last-minute tour benefits (Sunday at Off Limits, Monday at 1078 Gallery), you can purchase something to remember them by as they leave Chico behind for a month.