It is getting redundant to say that the latest Radio Rubber Room blowout at Emilio’s was a blast/even better than the last/a super terrific happy time, but it is a legitimately true statement every time.
It is getting redundant to say that the latest Radio Rubber Room blowout at Emilio’s was a blast/even better than the last/a super terrific happy time, but it is a legitimately true statement every time. Henceforth, that precursor description will be a given assumption. The last event was a four course gut-buster of rock: Grave Hooker, Imaginary Sons, Night Idea, and Dumb Waiter.
Grave Hooker I’d never seen or heard of (another biweekly reassurance that our city’s fertile loins are gestating rock and roll), but they offered a chopped-up, dark and grungy set with some distinctive mournful, lamenting vocals. They were a little rough around the edges amidst their non-sequitur changes and abrupt stops – most likely evidence that they haven’t been together that long. Grave Hooker has promise though, and deserves a watchful eye from those who need rock in their lives.
Imaginary Sons had generated a great to-do amongst the crowd, with rumor of playing their new unreleased album start to finish for the first time (they’re currently busy in the recording process). This was a real treat – the album has tremendous dynamic value. There’s a natural ebb and flow, rise and fall to it, and with such a range of styles and sounds, it’s pretty difficult to pin them down to a genre. I’m always going to be most impressed by vocal harmony, and this album is loaded with it. I tend to take a band more seriously if they’re easygoing, carefree onstage. Next to the music itself, banter is the most important part of a performance. Imaginary Sons exude confidence. I heard someone in the crowd label them “the most fun band in town right now.” That’s quite a title to hold. The new album is complete with weird interludes, and even a slow-dance side B song. All of a sudden it felt like prom night. They’ve got “Woohs,” “Oohs,” “Aahs,” and I think I heard a “Hey” or two. Maybe next time they’ll throw in a “shoobidoowop” or a “ramalama.” All in all, it seems to be a solid feel good album. When I was going through my notes after the show, someone had scribbled “IMAGINARY SONS RULES!” across the page. Well, that person is right. They rule.
Night Idea is one of the tightest, most together acts this city has to offer. That’s because there are hardly any bands around here that have been playing together for as long as these guys. They’re effortlessly fluid; all separate but streaming together as one musical organism. They have a trademark floaty ambience that gets plucked to a fine stop and start. This style is pretty constant in their music – so where I would say the music is dynamic in small parts, its constant theme is static on the macro level. And that’s certainly not a criticism. Night Idea has completely harnessed its sound, down to an impeccable math.
In the end, there was Dumb Waiter. And in the end, I was blindingly awestruck. A creepy, off-kilter, jazzy flurry fed into their utterly wild set. They dart from one time signature to the next, but not in a frustratingly unpredictable fashion. It’s all over the map, but seamless. And when you might be about to give up on trying to guess which phrase they’ll land on, Dumb Waiter occasionally gives the audience its rounded-out 4/4 stop, allowing us to pause and breathe for a moment. Dumb Waiter is its own hybrid animal from outer space; I’ve never heard anything like it in this city and I can’t wait to hear it again.
So, after that last show, I’m still blinking confusedly and getting my bearings straight. I guess Radio Rubber Room was accurate in saying that the show would literally blow my mind. It almost did. Now I have to get ready for the next one, and I wish there were some sort of brain enema I could make use of. This Wednesday night at Emilio’s Downtown, prepare for Dalton Dash!, Treetop Bonfire, and Thai Sun. Also, there’s going to be some exciting news regarding the Big Relaunch of the actual Radio Rubber Room radio show. 10pm! For more info, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/526504390792382/