The Prids, Overcasters, Gangcharger
Monday, March 30, 2009
Larimer Lounge, Denver
Better Than: A show featuring genre-specific, nostalgia acts.
Gangcharger set the pace for the show opening with a grittily atmospheric instrumental piece shot through with pulses of pure energy, followed by what sounded like a Confusion is Sex-era Sonic Youth song. At this point it dawned on me how Ethan, the guitarist, was able to make his Fender Jaguar sound both ghostly and abrasive, as well as haunted yet aggressive. Overall, the band reminded something of a cross between Mission of Burma's fusion of noise and post-punk and Sonic Youth in moments of frenetic, headlong pacing. Clearly when naming the band Gangcharger, its members had the music they would make in mind.
Though down its usual flood of visual imagery, Overcasters filled in that gap with a set that seemed more tight and inspired than I remember even when the band played in New Jersey and New York. The act opened with the sparkling "Expect the Worst," followed oddly enough by "Hey Hope," which made me wonder if it was a playful set list joke. The third and fourth songs, which were relatively new, sound like Overcasters have picked up where they left off with Revolectrocution, taking its core sound of swirling, atmospheric, electrifying dynamics in interesting directions. There were two songs I didn't recognize right away, and those turned out to be "One Kind" and "Loudsea." I don't know if the songs are played differently now, or if the parts were changed slightly, or if the band is just plain tighter after its series of out of town gigs, but those two songs sounded more fully realized than ever, with a greater degree of coloring and shading. The set ended, as usual, with "Electrocution," fitting since not much could follow that blazing, joyful apocalypse of a song.
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Apparently if you have any roots in moody post-punk, you're supposed to be a miserable band playing depressing music. The Prids completely demolished such foolish notions by proving that much of that kind of music comes from a need to inspire yourself through catharsis. The outfit opened with an invigorating performance of "Back Up Slow" and never really never let up its visceral momentum. During "Like Hearts," I was impressed with how passionately David Frederickson and Mistina Keith dug into their respective instruments, buoyed by Joey Maas' relentless, tom-heavy, percussion. I'm not sure I've seen the Prids perform a better version of "Before We Are," and even during the languid and sentimental "Love Zero," there was an intensity to the performance that simmered rather than bursting forth as the rest of the set had. The band treated us to three new songs, including "Waste Our Time," which deftly alternated between blocks of sound and the usual fluid sweep of the band's songwriting, "I'll Wait" with its beautiful belltone bass intro, and "It Won't Show," featuring an incredible shimmering riff within a riff on the part of Frederickson. The set ended with "One Thousand Five," a UFO-lift-off sound of a drone that seemed to lift the band away. Instead the Prids decided to do a two-song encore of "Contact" and "All That You Want," bringing to close what was a remarkable show all around, with the Prids proving once again why it's a formidable and inspiring energetic live act.
Personal Bias: I love atmospheric music that can create cool color moods without being a bummer.
Random Detail: John Nichols of Overcasters was wearing a cool Scott Walker t-shirt.
By the Way: The Prids had ouija boards for sale that featured the band's artwork.