Two of my favorite bands reunite on the same night and I’m out of town with the family. What did I do to deserve such a lump of coal in my musical stocking?
Tonight will be six years—and 20 days but who’s counting—since The Mindy Set played their final show at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. There was barely a dry eye in the house that night, off or onstage. It was truly the most emotional farewell show most of us Mindy fans had ever witnessed. Me, I’m still pissed off that the band was never showered with lucrative recording contracts. Was it better after all to leave with quiet dignity rather than as the next big thing hyped on the cover of Magnet? I don’t know, but I’d like to have seen it, because The Mindy Set deserved much more press than it got.
Call them neo-psych or American Brit-pop, but there was no mistaking the influence of UK bands like Ride or The Charlatans—or, if you were deep into the pudding, Coast or Mantaray. Joshua Williams laid out the prettiest basslines you could ever hope to hear. If you weren’t paying attention, it would have been easy to overlook the gorgeous subtlety of his work, which perfectly complemented Matt Dickens’ elegant guitars. And I say “guitars” rather than “guitar” because Dickens’ style and echo/effects settings made him sound like he was dueting with himself, as if playing in a room full of audible mirrors.
Sadly, two key members will not be present. Master stickman Noelan Ramirez will sit in for drummer Jill McArthur and—although she’s irreplaceable—you couldn’t find anyone better suited to the task. Michael Tinley played some of the loveliest and most unobtrusive guitar I’ve ever heard, both lead and melody at the same time. No one will play in his stead and that’s as it should be.
One of the fiercest punk and roll outfits of the late-’90s Southwest was the Chinese Love Beads. Based here for a short time, their tierra was El Paso and Ciudad Juárez. Fast, furious and grimy, the Beads rocked como chingones con cojones and will pull out all the stops at their first show in over a decade. Singer/bassist Ernesto Ybarra is better known today as DJ Rootzrocka and guitarist Pauli B. is Pablo Novelas, who fronted Albuquerque’s The Dirty Novels until a few years ago. I’m betting few Burqueños will be cruising down to Chuco for the unexpected reunion but I hope some of you represent.