Duendesday at the Loving Touch
As ever, Jeff Howitt and Duende! put together a killer bill for April’s Duendesday. Unfortunately, according to the ever-charming Howitt this may have been the last event for a while. The good news is that at least three of the bands of the bands that played on Wednesday night are playing the Blowout – Duende!, Moon Walks and the Lost Boys – so this show can be viewed as a bit of a preview.
The Lost Boys happen to be one of the best new garage rock bands we’ve seen in the past five years. Despite the name, this trio includes two girls. Also, we don’t know if they’re referencing Peter Pan, or the Joel Schumacher movie, or both. No matter. The energy of the band is infectious, but it isn’t empty posturing. The Lost Boys have incredibly, hooky pop songs that are buried under a ton of fuzz (could be the sound in the corner of the room, could be intentional, maybe a happy accident). They also have two great singers in guitarist Quennton Thornbury and bassist Caroline Myrick, so the front-person duties are split. Thornbury is a bad-ass player, pulling all manner of weird, whacky and intense sounds from his Excalibur, and relishing the freedom that his band mate offers him by taking the vocal reigns half of the time. Myrick’s a relentless bass player, never letting up. Meanwhile, drummer Sadie Slam stands up the whole time and beats the shit out of her sparse kit, keeping time effectively and with no small amount of sassy insanity. Love this band.
We saw Moon Walks opening for Le Voyage at the Magic Stick a couple of weeks ago, and they were interesting but hardly captivating. Tonight, the band is a lot better. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re playing before a crowd that actually wants to hear them – they definitely feed off of that. They still like to play the “we don’t care” card, but we’re not buying it, not even when the bassist sits down for a while. Moon Walks gets a little better every time we see them. By Blowout, they should be riding high.
It almost goes without saying these days that Duende! is a class act, featuring four classy musicians and rattling through a set of classy Americana-rock tunes. Howitt has such a great time fronting his band, it’s impossible not to get carried along. Scott Sanford is a great bassist, and Joel “Jelly Roll” McCune is one of our favorite guitarists in town (his work on the latest Dutch Pink album is ridiculous), and on Wednesday much fun was had when the two of them switched instruments for a minute. Laura Willem is an underrated drummer, and she keeps this rag-tag mob in check throughout.
Futurebabes has a sound that’s reminiscent of early ’80s punk and new wave. Think Elvis Costello, the Jam, and even the post-Buzzcocks sounds of Magazine. One has to wonder why the singer is wearing a Chicago Cubs shirt (they’re based in Ferndale), but the songs are strong enough that we can forgive that indiscretion. Bags of energy and a dab of healthy anger, the Futurebabes are worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.