Gris Gris

Thursday, September 30, Bender's Tavern, 303-861-7070.

"Gris-Gris is sometimes referred to as the iron fist of Voodoo due to its hammer-like quality of relentless pounding until the spell takes effect," says the highly esteemed California Astrology Association. With a setup like that, it would take a band with serious moxie to live up to that name. Based on its raw Seeds-era psychedelic-garage sound, it seems as though the members of Gris Gris are on a bad acid trip. On the act's self-titled debut, ghosts torment with scratching and squealing for an edge-of-the-seat experience. But rather than talking down the afflicted, the fascinated onlookers pull up a pillow and join the twisted ride. The clouds part for melancholy dream sequences on "Medication #3" and "Me Queda Um Bejou," but clarity is fleeting. Spy tunes, B-movies and a vaudevillian reworking of Sam the Sham's "Little Red Riding Hood" all contribute to this psychotic reaction. The practitioners of such mysticism are as dangerous as Arthur Brown and as demented as Roky Erickson. Calastrology.com concludes: "Once a Gris-Gris spell is cast, the momentum slowly builds until it becomes an unstoppable force." See if the same is true of the band when it hits Bender's this Thursday night.

 
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