Beach Fossils, Woven Bones, and The Beets
live, at Bruar Falls, July 1, 2010
Bands play most nights of the week, so Bruar Falls is always active. But it's a rare weeknight when the Cake Shop satellite, nestled in a main drag of the Williamsburg grid, gets a trio of acts with the accumulated interest of last Thursday's bill, which convinced a mini-throng to abandon the cool night air to pack in shoulder to shoulder.
First came The Beets, who look, always, as if they've stumbled out of some DIY Riverdale, just narrowly escaping wacky comic-strip calamity. They now appear with a foxy Veronica of a drummer (named Melissa, actually) in tow. She adamantly beat away from her standing position, though her pals seemed sloppier than their ramshackle standard. Even so, their neat tension between teenage pep and adult sleepiness remained. Band cartoonist Matt Volz (awesome, necessary job title), only partly responsible for the 2-D air that surrounds them, is also a performing member these days, providing between-song doses of spritely recorder playing for some reason. Silly but charming, forever and ever.
The narrow room got cramped as Woven Bones set up, thick back to the front-bar jukebox.�‚ The Austin three-piece brings a reputation as rough-and-tumble noiseniks, come to town to melt faces for the collected crimes of our twee borough. But while they kept up a mean, rapid tempo for the entirety of their short set, it was more shaggy go-go than menacing drone. Their thrashing had Cramps-y twang, but they were best when the pounding turned snotty. It neared the crunching catchiness of Northwestern alt-rock, though at a middle ground lighter than The Wipers and nowhere near as hooky as Nirvana. In the room's pastel glow, Woven Bones kept up the summery vibe. The appreciative crowd seemed fine with the false advertising.
The neighborhood familiarity with consistently gigging headliners Beach Fossils thinned the room slightly, though all those preceding shows contributed to the nightâ�‚��œs most polished performance. Singer Dustin Payseur filled the long bar with breezy echo, at once more assertively melodic than anything produced by Woven Bones. His band's nagging guitar riffs and depth-charge bass lines lent interest to the surf-music-via-indie-rock compositions. It sounded fine, but energy-wise, they never lifted themselves or the crowd past mildly jaunty bobbing. It's not that they were lacking normal verve, just executing mid-tempo songs designed to (almost) jauntily bob to. Which is a valid, but weird niche.