[Ed. Note: Presented, as always, without edits in the original form I wrote it. Better, worse? You decide.]
On one of the odder days of my life, I somehow ended up at a place colloquially known as "The Ponderosa" seeing some local bands on Friday night. It's a long story of getting lost in Houston that led to me ending up there, I had actually been intending to go to the Fat Tony show at the Tipping Point that night, but I'll spare the details and get on with the bands.
First up to bat was the psychotically punk Somosuno. It was frontman Fernando Alejandro's 21st birthday and he was typically on fire, dancing through the crowd in the tiny, cramped room, crowd surfing, jumping off anything in sight, and shouting/rapping Spanish lyrics at a ridiculous pace that pretty much blew my mind. The rest of the band dutifully backed him up, holding down the rhythm with post-Fugazi riffage and a horn player for texture. Having only seen their name on bills of shows I didn't attend, it was a welcome surprise to find out how good they were.
When I asked when they were going to play, sIngs told me they preferred to go on second, and true to their word they were the middle band of the night. I have actually seen sIngs before, opening for Cursive at Walter's on Washington last year, but they started playing before Walter's would let anybody in the building so I only got to see about half of their set. What I heard then was a tremendous slice of shoegazing noisey post-rock soaked in enough distortion and feedback to destroy your eardrums even with earplugs in. Suffice it to say, I loved it.
They were just as good on Friday night too, covering mostly the same territory as the last time I saw them. I never got to see them when it was just singer/guitarist/drummer/band mastermind Brett Taylor playing on his own, so I can't compare it to that, though I've heard that was amazing as well. With the full band though, Taylor, accompanied by Buxton alumni Jason Willis on guitar and Justin Terrell on drums, as well as David Ibarra on bass, is able to do so much more, including making a lot more noise. There's an odd beauty in the cacophony, which can probably be attributed to the melodic songwriting piercing through the dissonance. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of their album, which they're having a release party for at Mango's on April 17th. Try to make that show if you can, it should be awesome.
Caddywhompus played last. I've had their demos since last summer, which probably marks the longest time for me between hearing a local band's music and seeing them perform. The band is only made up of the duo of scene vet Chris Rehm on guitar/vocals and Sean Hart, yet they're loud enough for a ten-piece band. Like sIngs, they make a great deal of noise, but it's pure lo-fi punk in the vein of bands like No Age. In the live setting their songs lost some of their clarity, as well as the synthesizer parts on the album, but it was just as much of a fun, raucous show as I expected. They're going to have a split 7" release with sIngs coming out soon so be on the lookout for that.
Despite the bizarre way my night started, which included accidentally wandering into DiverseWorks Fotofest 2010 among other things, it was fortunate that I ended up at "The Ponderosa" as it was probably the most fun local show I've been to in a while. All three bands performed like their lives depended on making this show rock and rock they did. I left with my ears ringing and I couldn't have been happier about it.