Make them cry: The lead singer of Lynus kept bragging about his good sense to drop a deuce before going onstage. Sigh. Such is the state of nerdy math rock: amenable but obvious, the only surprises being shitter banter and who’s wearing what zany indie T-shirt. But this evidently had no effect on Lynus’ fan base; Luigi’s Fun Garden was packed with drones mouthing lyrics.
Most were in the house last Thursday, however, for Autumn Sky, whose EP release party was raison de fête. Autumn (is that her name?) strums acoustic and serenades with a giant beam across her face, which is contagious, but in a bad way, like conjunctivitis. (Don’t cry. It’ll spread.) She’s a talented ingénue, but too damn cheerful. Don’t you know that the Western world’s on the brink of collapse?
If you’re going to be congenial, then you have to be humble and punk-as-hell, too, which is why Vivian Girls’ killed it on Friday. A little bit Sonic Youth, a little bit … Bananas—as per the lead singer Cassie Ramone’s affection for the local punk trio—the Girls do what Autumn and Lynus only dream of: have crazed stalkers show up at gigs. Evidently Luigi’s owners chased the nut case away, which is fortunate for Girls ubërsexy bassist Kickball Katy: Her banter about washing in the venue sink might have pushed said follower to the brink. For the capacity crowd, the Girls’ set was enough. (Nick Miller)
Foaming at the mouth, ringing in the ears: I trekked across campus toward the UC Davis Silo Café and Pub, Thursday night’s most peculiar venue, with curious kids plotting careful steps, rockers and self-assured oddballs in stripes and fishnets. The evening opened with Death Worth Living, who’s only worth a mention. France’s A.H. Kraken enlivened the hybrid audience with thrash metal, followed by Sacramento’s noise-punk Mayyors. I wondered, watching the lead singer shove into the thrashing throng, if he exhibited symptoms of rabies. But it’s probably hard not to foam at the mouth when wailing like that. Later, and almost a no-show, Arrington de Dionyso reminded me of a snake charmer with a hypnotic bass clarinet. To end the epic night, AIDS Wolf was stirring, lead singer Chloe Lum using her jaws-of-life voice to rip everyone from their stupors. My own ears are still ringing from her call. (Megan Hanson)
Thank you, scene: David Houston played a short set with his band as a part of Luna’s Poetry Unplugged on Thursday, November 20. And although it wasn’t exactly poetry and he wasn’t unplugged, Houston’s fragile voice, full of tragedy and hope (is that goddamn word copyrighted by now?) was just as poetic as anything else that night. Even if you’ve seen Houston perform a hundred times since you’ve lived in Sacramento, it’s still not enough. His live version of “Break Your Heart” made me want to chase a handful of Prozac with a pint of Jim Beam (metaphorically, of course).
And speaking of local musicians who you can’t watch enough, Anton Barbeau, everybody’s favorite ex-pat, is back. For a while, at least.
In a private e-mail that I will now exploit, Anton had this to say: “i’ve got a two year work permit for the uk now, and am waiting on my visa to be approved. assuming all is fine, i should be outta here in a couple weeks or so … i’m also nearly finished with the production of allyson’s album. it’s really lovely and fun. no idea for release date cos we don’t have a label set yet. my publisher in england is keen on the album and we’re kinda letting him do the work to get word out.” Barbeau hates capital letters. But he seems to be in good spirits and it would be a shame if you missed this show, featuring Antband and Allyson Seconds. It’s free on Friday, November 28, at R5 Records (2500 16th Street), from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Oh, and one more thing: Before the killer Forms in Flux show with J Ross Parrelli (you must check her out at www.myspace.com/msparrelli) and Sonicbloom at The Distillery was a rare, poetic spectacle featuring Joe Montoya, the founder of Luna’s Poetry Unplugged, reading poems with backup by Vincent Montoya and George Scott on guitars. Sometimes poetry with music behind it sounds forced and unnatural. This, however, was a cigarettes-and-coffee pairing that seems like it could never be repeated—a masterpiece. There’s something in the air lately that’s making our creative class just a little bit more creative. Do you notice it, too? (Josh Fernandez)