I saw a lot of great shows last month—too many to do justice to in this brief column. Among others, I saw Asliani, a.k.a. Lady Kat, skillfully rap about peace, love, understanding and crystal healing. I saw the Terri Schiavo Dance Party—one of America’s worst-named bands, says The A.V. Club—deliver an unforgettable punk-rock experience, with a houseful of maniacs losing all control. I saw a show by the ultra-tuneful Americana act Three String Bale, and the dare-you-not-to-dance-to-this return of Monster Paws. I saw the delightfully witch-house, four-keyboard Dbl Reighnbeau, whose members performed in druidic robes, as well as astounding, runaway-train reunion sets from the Gracchi, Riley Switch and Pan!c.
But, for me, the month’s musical highlight was a show at Burt’s Tiki Lounge on Dec. 6. That night, I saw a deliciously feedback-laden set from Full Speed Veronica, the clanging, chugging, howling pleasures of St. Petersburg and the melodic Red Light Cameras, future kings and queens of FM radio. I also saw the Glass Menageries play their final show before an indefinite hiatus—one member’s pregnant, and another’s moving—and their dreamy, driving brand of propulsive, danceable shoegaze just did it for me. I found myself thinking things like, “This is as much as I am able to enjoy music.” And I found myself falling seriously in love-at-first-sight with one of their two singer/keyboardist/guitarists, Mauro Woody, whom I’d never seen perform with them before. After the show, I talked with her. There seemed to be a mutual attraction, and we’ve pretty much spent every available hour together since. I’ve always known going to local shows was good for my soul, but this show was especially good for me. I’m still grinning.
Later, on Dec. 18, at the Iron Haus, a new-to-me DIY venue, Mauro and I got to see Dallas, a two-piece band genuinely unlike any I have ever seen—featuring shouted, nonsensical female vocals and almost-death-metal-style drumming—and Fort Hobo, embodying chaos itself. Fort Hobo members fell all over each other, dived across the crowded room and grabbed audience members. People were bleeding by the end, including the band’s guitarist. Every kid who’s ever scrawled “punk’s not dead” on their shoes was proved gloriously right. After the show and around a bonfire, local legendary drummer Kris Kerby mentioned to us that his band, Sabertooth Cavity—which I love—would be reuniting for a show in Carlsbad.
Cut to: a carful of fans driving south on Dec. 22 to see Sabertooth Cavity play a bowling alley bar. We got there early enough to see Carlsbad Caverns—which are incredible—and then we all took a nap in a cheap motel room. We completely slept through Sabertooth Cavity’s set. I still can’t believe this. I cannot believe this. The band couldn’t believe it either. How did no one in our group think to set an alarm?
Fortunately for us, Sabertooth Cavity played another gig on Dec. 26 at the Launchpad, and we were able to give our quest a little closure. Bigawatt opened, as a two-piece, and the act’s usual melodic noise was given wonderful added dimension and rhythm with the addition of a drummer. Sabertooth was wild, experimental and a happy mess—a unique, jazzy, warm sort of jam-metal you can dance to. Music well worth driving five hours south for. Or driving back for. Music you would never want to sleep through.