TANGIERS, ILLUMINATI, the UNCUT and ANAGRAM at the Silver Dollar, January 24. Tickets: $7. Attendance: 300. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
You know a show's a hot ticket when the celeb quotient in the crowd practically outweighs that onstage. Through the Silver Dollar's haze of bluish smoke and wall-to-wall college kids toting poofy coats last Friday night, you could just barely make out ample-tongued rawk god Danko Jones, not one but two members of Sloan (Jay Ferguson, who seems to hit every single indie show in this city -- does that guy ever sleep? -- and Patrick Pentland) and conscious MC K-OS, bobbing his head in the back room. Amidst the gossipy star-spotting excitement and the impossibility of buying a drink at the teeming bar, it was hard to focus on the opening set by local noise rock outfit Anagram. Their dissonant skronk, punctuated by random bursts of weird angular guitars and grade-school recorder solos, all but faded into the background hubbub.
Hushed lo-fi duo the Uncut fared even worse. Their Yo La Tengo-plus-drum-machine shtick was sweet but unforgivably low-key, especially since the shaggy-headed dudes only looked up from their instruments to cue the next programmed beat track.
But damned if the next act didn't blow minds. Sure, you could scoff at Illuminati's seeming death-metal clichés -- their oh-so-ominous goth-inspired name, their bizarre looks (a scrawny plucked chicken of a drummer, a buffer Axl doppelgänger sans bandana on bass and a commie-capped longhair guitarist whose chest was plastered with pseudo prison tats) and their ridiculous pronouncements on being "space-metal" emissaries.
But they bashed through expectations with a searing set full of surprises and sneaky details, like moments of metal-blues fusion, impeccably written, noodly jazz codas on a few blistering rawk tracks and right-on complex compound time signatures nailed down by a wicked drum beat. And their stab at foot-stompin' mosh-pit punk-abilly was a not so quiet riot.
Still, Tangiers, the night's headliners, are arguably the cutest, most fuckworthy band in town, like Interpol gone punk in aesthetic with thrift store suits and cute fly-away haircuts. Even better, they boast insane energy, quadruple-threat vocals, blistering guitars and an awesome post-punk-garage-mod-soul attack with slight whiffs of New Wave here and there.
Between their stellar rhythm section (drummer Marco Moniz is a hoot) and frontman Josh Reichmann's ability to get the crowd to (a) dance and (b) pelt the band with cigarettes, they proved themselves more than deserving of the label deal that's resulted in their upcoming album (to drop in March).
Kudos to free-floating musical gatekeeper Dan Burke for bringing right-on rock 'n' roll to the Silver Dollar. Now, if he could only work on beefing up the bar staff, we might be in business.