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April 9, 2004

Hyde Park bands impress in North Side showcase

This past Tuesday night, three Hyde Park rock bands lit up the Metro along with Dig for Fire, who hail from outside our spring-laced domain. I won't say the show was a culmination—since that implies demise—but I will say that it solidified the bands' status as bona fide Sonic Movements. The premise of this delightfully charged evening was to put genuine good tunes hand-in-hand with student films (i.e. LIGHT), so that the two mediums might, well, have a one-night stand. In the end, however, what stuck for me was the music, though, to be fair, there were some nice convergences and divergences between the two. For example, I appreciated the nest-like formation projected during the Starlister set (correct me if I was seeing things). My hope is that my fellow students got a sustained glimpse (for the first time or for nth time) of what these people can do, which, in my mind, parallels a religious revival.

P1xel opened and played a rapid-fire set of glam-rock. One thing I appreciate about their tunes is the space they give me—whether at the beginning of a song or in the middle—to breathe. This happens due to their capitalization (that's right) of range and dynamics, whether it be Petal A. Lexus' high-end keyboard sirens, Slugger Metropolis' down-to-earth gravy, Stryker's axe-sheddings (think skin!), Hunter's low-end "throbbing" (old fans will get the reference) or P1xel's husky antics. I would really like to hear some more of Petal's voice. Perhaps during the Circus soundtrack (y'all know what I'm talking about), which the band previewed, I will be appeased? While I acknowledge the potential of secondary texts, the corresponding film—comprised of Archie comics with P1xel lyrics in the bubbles—was, as a bearded man put it, "off."

Starlister was up next, delivering their usual blend of dance-inducing euphony and grittiness. Brian, on drums, seemed particularly animated (the very Brian who does vox for Health & Beauty). Robert provided some great texture and seemed to be enjoying himself (who wouldn't be?). This new rhythm section allows Starlister to play more extended instrumental passages, during which Loren can wander and eye us, as it were. Looking at my photos, I noticed that Loren stretched his body quite marvelously.

In short, Starlister was dreamy. I know that many in the audience felt the same way, though my judgment might have been compromised, what with it being "Night School" (i.e. $2 drinks). Whenever Starlister seems to be innocuous, they are merely preparing to inoculate you with a harmonic organism. Finally, I should say that it always warms my heart when Sara (more on her later!) and Loren harmonize.

I do not have the space to look at Dig for Fire extensively, but I will say they seemed pretty tight—and their video, depicting a young girl spinning, did the most for me. As Health & Beauty took the stage, they looked snappy in their black and white regalia. Indeed, Sara might have single-handedly brought back the Whig Party. Health & Beauty are at their best when they wed NOISE and intimacy, and Tuesday's show certainly fulfilled this criterion (shudder). There is something supremely intimate (and perhaps destructive as well) about how Brian clutches his guitar. I only wish that vocals were a bit louder (from all of the bands). Headlining enabled H & B to take their interludes to an extreme, so they gave us space for reflection in a different way from P1xel.

All in all, I feel, as someone else put it, "blessed" to have such acts at my fingertips. As the audience tossed around transparent globes during H & B's portion of the show, I thought, well, this is some global warming. If I haven't done justice to these folks, ask the Forking With My Asshole M.C. what they're about. See you on the flipside.