Wound Up and Worn Out

The Subs show last night was p-double-a-acked! I haven’t seen Yu Yin Tang so crammed since, well, since the Rogue Transmission CD release party a week ago, another awesome show.

Opening was Yellow Riot, a Clash tribute band that bore an uncanny resemblance to Rogue Transmission for some reason I just can’t put my finger on.

Every time I see Boys Climbing Ropes, it brings to mind this half-remembered quotation, something Elvis Costello said about the early eighties Attractions, something about how they could sound pent up and strung out at the same time. Or laid back and wound up. Or worn out and hung up. (I’m thinking of songs like “Strict Time.”) For a while, I had a sense that Boys Climbing Ropes were kind of two bands fighting for the same stage, but now it seems they’ve managed to balance their yin and their yang in a most satisfying way. Great show, and we sweaty masses summoned them back for an encore, a triumphant reading of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

The Subs were awesome, as you may have anticipated. Monstrous peals of arena-ready guitar riffs rent the fetid air, while lead singer Kang Mao 抗猫 magnetized the crowd with her wild-eyed thrusting and jabbing, convulsing as she squalled. She was doing a really weird thing with her voice, a kind of tremolo that sounded more like two sine waves beating; I have no idea how she did that. It was great, but like I said it, the place was super packed, and having made rather merry the night before, I left halfway through the set. I realized I still had their CD at home that I still hadn’t listened to, with better sight lines and less smoke and no mosh pit to spill beer on me. I know, I’m sorry, I’m lame.

It was fun to see BCR and Subs on the same bill. While BCR’s tunes are bit more foursquare, with steady chord changes, the spice provided by the lean interplay between guitar and base that sidesteps standard voicings, The Subs are more likely to stay put for a while, bluesing around a chosen key area for longer stretches. Whereas BCR were more about edgy riffs, The Subs favored extended solos. Nice contrast.

Oh, and it was Halloween, so people were dressed up funny, but I wasn’t. Since Halloween’s the day after my birthday, I still nurture a childhood grudge against it for stealing my birthday thunder.

Speaking of birthdays, maybe it’s because I’m getting old, or maybe I was just worn out and hung up from the previous evening’s festivities, but I sure wouldn’t mind if these things started a little earlier. With the headliner taking the stage after midnight, I almost always konk out before the DJ afterparty fun starts, much as I would like to stick around. Now get off my lawn.

Update: just saw Andy Best’s review is up, and it’s more thorough than mine, so go read his blog instead! Great finally meeting him in person last night.

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