Over the weekend: Snake Rattle Rattle Snake at the hi-dive
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake With Treeverb, Cannons Friday, January 22, 2010 hi-dive Better than: Avatar. Seriously, that movie sucks.
Cannons opened up the show with a sound reminiscent of Fugazi, Archers of Loaf or any number of early post-punk bands. Bassist Eric Fuller, who also holds down the low end for To Be Eaten, failed to excite the crowd by taking off his shirt to reveal the giant Slayer tattoo on his back, like he has done so many times before. This was unfortunate, as it was clear this was a crowd who would've liked a little more male nudity.
Treeverb, fronted by Jeff Suthers of Mooonspeed and Bright Channel fame, assumed the task of calming down the audience after Cannons revved them up with their high energy performance. This task wouldn't take long as Treeverb sludged through their brand of reverb drenched, pulsing, shoegaze at a pace that would make the turtle from those Comcast commercials wonder when they were going to play a fast song.
Like the Lemonheads on opium, the band played songs with a power pop foundation and then added layers of reverb drenched vocals, airy power chords and a commanding and deliberate tempo. It is a sound that Suthers has executed to near perfection in his other projects and prompted one person to say, "They play like they look -- like they just woke up."
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake busted out of the gates quickly with the dance floor pounding rocker, "Kafka and the Milk." James Yardley's masterfully written bass line, though not turned up as loud as it should have been, throbbed and bounced between dual percussionists Andrew Warner and Kit Peltzel syncopated rhythms, while guitarists Doug Spencer and Wilson Helmericks sprinkled echoey guitar lines over the top.
Vocalist Hayley Helmericks strutted amidst the music and conjured up images of other great front women like Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde -- and not just because of her bangs. Helmericks persona was brazen and sassy while the music played, yet unassuming and polite between songs, thanking the sold out crowd for "packing it in so tightly."
As a singer, Helmericks is arguably one of the best in town. She has the ability switch from sultry, sweet and seductive to guttural, commanding and downright horrifying. Midway through the set, on the song "Parallel Lines," she dug deep into her diaphragm and began to growl, "In the dark, we don't know who is who," before barking out a concluding "ooooh" that was so spine chillingly abrasive it would make the chick from Arch Enemy jealous.
Before this night, the name Snake Rattle Rattle Snake came up frequently in talks about great local bands. On this night, the band lived up to the hype and should continue to be included in these types of talks. They may not play like they just woke up, but local music fans who are unaware of their presence should get up to speed. Soon.
CRITIC'S NOTBOOK Personal Bias: SRRS is my favorite local band. For the moment, anyway. Random Detail: I passed by Haley Helmericks on the street the following night. Clammed up and didn't say hi. By The Way: To the people who stood in front of me for a good portion of the show before I was forced to move; SHUT UP!