Last Night: Indian Jewelry @ the Phoenix Grille, UC Irvine

PhotobucketIndian Jewelry @ the Phoenix Grille, UC Irvine on August 9, 2008

Better Than: Losing $100 playing Hold ‘Em at the Indian Casino.

Download: Swans” from Indian Jewelry’s Myspace page

When the lights go down and the strobe starts flashing, it’s easy to forget that the Phoenix Grille is essentially a school cafeteria. During lunch hours they play mainstream pop music. But for a few glorious nights, they host some of the most original bands around, thanks to Sam Farzin’s Acrobatics Everyday.

Last night, Acrobatics Everyday brought Houston noise band Indian Jewelry to the UCI campus. Several arguably noisier bands, including XBXRX, Meho Plaza, and Sprawl Out, helped the audience acclimate aurally before Indian Jewelry took the stage (or the floor, rather).

First up was Sprawl Out from Costa Mesa, a trio that fashions their fast and aggressive garage sound from an electric organ combined with heavy bass and drums. Sprawl Out describe their sound as “gargling razor blades while getting head from an androgynous schizophrenic.” They played several short pieces, including songs about Doogie Howser M.D. and being afraid of AIDS.

Like Sprawl Out, Meho Plaza is also a trio, except they employ a guitarist and use a keyboard to replace the bass. The combination of screeching guitar licks, fuzz-filled artificial bass lines, and a charging rhythm makes Meho Plaza strangely catchy.

PhotobucketXBXRX were the only band to completely embody their music’s noise and aggression physically. With matching baby blue uniforms, the band threw themselves into the crowd while their punk rock permeated the air. The grinding guitar riffs fused with a drum rhythm as rapid and terrifying as machine gun fire.

By the time Indian Jewelry started their set, it was clear that the other three bands had more in common with each other than they did with Indian Jewelry. Of course, as a band, Indian Jewelry were not completely removed from the musical heritage that shaped the bands they played with. If they didn’t prefer the droning to the frenetic, there would be very little difference indeed.

Critic’s Notebook:

Personal Bias: I want to play at an Acrobatics Everyday show.

Random Detail: Phoenix Grille serves imported and domestic beer.

By The Way: Captain Ahab is playing at UCI on August 22 courtesy of Acrobatics Everyday.

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