Prescription for permanent hearing loss.

Does hair over the ears impede high-decibel sound? Ganglians singer Ryan Grubbs at their Luigi’s Fun Garden LP release last week. This week: touring the East Coast.

Does hair over the ears impede high-decibel sound? Ganglians singer Ryan Grubbs at their Luigi’s Fun Garden LP release last week. This week: touring the East Coast.

Photo By nick miller

Crowds and power drums: To borrow Elias Canetti’s phrase, it’s “the fear of being touched” that gives a rock show its feeling of tension and release. When people press close together in front of a stage, excited by the music, they discharge their fear by becoming one with the crowd. All rock shows strive to unify people in this way, but few do it with any great effect. A boring show is one that fails to bring its crowd together.

Last week, Zach Hill sutured the living, anaesthetized flesh of a Luigi’s Fun Garden crowd together like paper dolls. His three-piece band filled the room with an ear-splitting roar, in the middle of which he pounded his drums fast and hard. The barrage never settled into a complacent drone—typical of much “noise”—but kept climaxing nonstop for 20 minutes, reaching decibels as high as 120.

In turn, the crowd, succumbing to adrenaline narcosis, gazed on hollowly like crack babies in a sandstorm. A few people began screaming to relieve the tension. I felt a violent desire to punch all the twiggy boys pushing past me to get closer to the stage. To stop myself, I clinched my fists into painful balls.

When the auditory punishment finally ended and the house lights came on, everyone was smiling. A few minutes of unity achieved at the small cost of permanent hearing loss. (Jeff McCrory)

Rant party: The fact that preteen rock duo Dog Party is playing bar shows now is just another sign God smiles upon Midtown. Those girls tear it up, and it was really nice of Old Ironsides to let them hang out and watch the rest of the show with their parents. You know how many bars I’ve played in that let me stay and watch shows when I was in an underaged band? Zero. Rightfully so: I would have gotten so wasted. The girls in Dog Party are a class act, though; their drummer has more charm and personality than 90 percent of Sacramento bands combined, and she’s 11. Get it together, Sactown.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about their set was the douche standing next to me wearing the biggest protective earphones I’ve ever seen. I get wearing ear protection at concerts, but seriously: WTF dude? Do those two little pre-pubescent girls just rock too hard for your precious little ears? Wait, you have some kind of medical condition that makes you wear ear protection at shows. I’ve heard of it, it’s called “being a loser.” Don’t worry, I had it too when I was, like, 7. My dad cured it by saying, “Son, you’re being a loser,” followed by a swift smack to the back of the head. I’m pretty sure you can get it without a prescription.

Turns out this dude was the guitarist for the next band, rock ’n’ roll outfit Baby! Sometimes a person can be so awkward, you can’t even look them in the eye, and not only could I not look at this dude, I had to block out his entire side of the stage. Every time his spazzy, ill-proportioned mug drifted into my peripheral vision, I thought I was going to have a stroke out of sheer discomfort. It was like watching Angus Young play, if Angus Young was home-schooled and ate butter sandwiches for dinner. The band came up a few points at the end with a tasteful Teenage Bottlerocket cover, but I still could only watch the other 75 percent of the band.

Brit-rock project New Faces saved face for the night, even though Old I was empty at that point. It took me a while to realize they were still young enough to be in high school, since they played, dressed and carried themselves like British junkie rock stars. Or maybe they just look young because Seattle never gets any sun, so people just don’t age there? (Derek Nielsen)

Best place for a lap dance: Sometimes the most entertaining part of a gig is the beginning, that awkward moment when the band tries to feel out the audience and the audience teeters between getting another beer and listening. Some bands beg too much for audience participation (they have to earn my dancing moves, damnit), some don’t give a shit and some, like Brandon Tyler last Thursday, strip and give burly fellows a guitar lap dance. And it worked. More people showed up toward the end of the set, and Tyler walked away $1 richer from the strip. Tyler’s next Sacramento gig is August 13 at Fox & Goose. Bring your dollar bills. (Jenn Kistler)