Rainer Maria with Strike Anywhere , Engine Down and New Mexico Death Squad at the Funhaus, July 29. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 400. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Rainer Maria's poet-based name filled this unschooled mind with the worrisome possibility of overly audible pretentious lyrics - god forbid the occurrence of the feared spoken word! However, said fears were unnecessary, as the Wisconsin trio put on an excellent performance Thursday night at a show that didn't outwardly fit like a glove, co-headlining a tour alongside punkish agitators Strike Anywhere .
Bassist and frontwoman Caithlin de Marais has charisma and energy, the latter shared by guitarist Kyle Fischer and drummer William Kuehn . They played songs from their most recent release as well as newly written songs that were well received, if not as ecstastically as the older tunes.
The sound mix started off OK, maybe a little too loud, but by the middle of the set feedback and noise had overpowered Caithlin's pleasant vox. The muddied sound was over-corrected several songs later, and her vocals' high pitch became an aural hammer that fucked the ear hard. Always wear protection.
Still, the band can't be blamed for the mix, and the sounds they produced were pleasant, if loud. Don't be afraid to check these dudes out the next time they pass through town.
Show starters the New Mexican Death Squad were charming, too, with a singer whose between-song banter brought to mind Cursed's Chris Colohan, and a sound that drew from Bad Religion and the Descendants along with a billion other bands of that ilk.
Second up were Engine Down , whose proggish, breakdown-laden, high-pitched-vocals sound appeals to me about as much as a hamburger enema. Still, they were tight and the crowd seemed to appreciate them. They also got shout-outs from both Strike Anywhere and Rainer Maria - possibly because this was Engine Down's last show of the tour.
When Strike Anywhere clambered onstage shortly after Rainer Maria's set, the room suddenly felt much fuller than it had the rest of the night.
A spirit of togetherness was evident as dreadlocked voxman Thomas Barnett made sure the slam-dancing crowd wasn't too aggressive and welcomed fans to watch the show from onstage as the band rocked out their catchy melodic hardcore.
Barnett talked a lot between songs, and I think he was saying something about revolution and people coming together, but it was pretty unintelligible. Still, if a kid there was able to garner something from his stirring speeches and become the next Marcus Garvey or Emma Goldman, mission accomplished.