Last weekend, after a myriad of drinks at Super Zoe's house, I headed downtown to see the house band for my drunken nights in Austin: Peel. Even though I'd seen them twice recently I was up for another show. I was guided by this simple formula: Peel + Two Japanese rock bands + Beerland = guaranteed good time. You don't need to be a Calculus professor to understand that equation.
BTW, how funny is the name Beerland? It's like opening a deli and calling it Meatland. As you can imagine, it's a dive bar but it's a fun place to spend a Friday night. It was also a good setting to see the lo-fi (yet boisterous) pop songs of Peel. They played all my favorites off their album: "Moxy Blues", "In The City", and "Workers, Wake Up". They also added some songs from their EP, August Exhaust Pipes, as well as a few new tunes. The Beerland setting had them playing with abandon. The two guitarists often smashed into each other as they bounced around the stage. The bassist, who prefers hanging off to the side, was hiding behind the speakers just to avoid them.
Check out their fun loving, low budget video for "Moxy Blues". It's like an iTunes commercial on acid:
Peel is one of the best bands Austin has to offer. I've seen them three times and each show has been better than the last. They often pull the rug from under the headliners and leave people (or least me) wanting more. Tonight was no exception.
The first Japanese band to play was The Captains. They were exactly what I expected: lots of 60's inspired rock with coordinated hand gestures and synchronized bows at the end of each song. They didn't speak much English so they just kept repeating "Thank you!" and "So happy to see you!" The best part of The Captains was their "get ups" (as they say here in Texas). Before the show they were all dressed in Boy Scout uniforms and during the setup they looked like waiters with ruffled tuxedo shirts. For their set, they went for a Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club thing. However it looked like a mix of Austin Powers and the lion tamer for Ringling Brothers. The Captains put on a good show but were no match for what came next.
Tsu Shu Ma Mi Re are an all girl band that apparently has some association to a cartoon called The Powerpuff Girls. I never quite caught the connection. Like The Captains, their English was limited, so I couldn't understand their onstage banter. No matter. They let the music do the talking for them. It was ironic to hear their high pitch, cutesy voices as they play thrashing punk rock with a Japanese twist. They knew how to put on a memorable show using a lot of classic rock moves: climbing the speakers, getting the crowd clapping along to songs, jumping into the crowd. Here's a taste of what their live show is like:
All in all, a great night out in Austin. Tonight should be just as good as Belaire and White Denim (my favorite new band) take the stage at Mohawk.