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Too Clean

On Sunday, August 20th, I was very bored, lonely, and depressed. I was really not feeling well, so I started looking at my Facebook events. "Oh yeah Dan booked that show," I said to myself, possibly out loud, "I should go to it instead of sitting at home and looking at these weird plush bears sitting in a chair together and feeling jealous." And so, I went to the show at Howlers.

The show was supposed to start right before I got there, which made me feel anxious; I don't like to miss anything. Instead it got delayed a while, because not a lot of peeps were there. Maybe they were at Skull Fest or tired from Skull Fest or moping at home with plush bears. Eventually some people came, and the show started with the very garage-y, in every sense of the word, Spellcaster.

The members of Spellcaster look pretty young. The guitarist looks like my friend, Ocasia's, brother, who I always think of as being in high-school even though he clearly isn't now. Like his hair, this band is pretty fuzzy and imperfect. The guitar sounded pretty nice, despite using one of those multi-effects processors (yuck! so gross!). The bass was quiet, and then got a lot louder for some of the songs; it was almost like a second guitar, reminding me of Young Marble Giants. The drums were super solid with a nice deep tone on such a little kit. The songs were typical garage fair, girls and beer and stuff, which is fine. It's nothing exceptional right now, but, if these guys pushed a little more, they could be really great.

Next up was the touring band, Best Behavior. I don't like this name; it seems kind of bratty in a bad way. This band looked cool, but they did a lot of weird dance moves. Their songs are pretty dance-y though, so it makes sense. The guitarist with the sleeveless shirt did have some cool Springsteen moves, and he looks like The Boss. Anyway, the music was really disappointing. I don't like indie-dance-rock - too much like The Killers or The Strokes at their worst. Even worse, Best Behavior had some kind of drum machine or backing track. Keyboards, handheld percussion, even bass(!) and guitar(!), and other phantom sounds spread around like a curse. You guys have a 4-piece band; there is no excuse for this! I might be off on the bass and guitar parts, but it certainly looked like sometimes the band members' playing did not match the sounds emitted from the speakers. If yr gonna use a drum machine, be upfront about it, or just play it for real! These phantom sounds were clearly otherworldly as well; they sounded so separate from the material instruments. Finally, the singing was too on point; I'll take raw vocals over stuff like this any day!

Hey it's that band I like! The Spectres are raw and good! They aren't unpolished or sloppy, but they have high energy and make mistakes sometimes. This was the best I've ever seen them play! It was a breath of fresh air to hear Dan wailing "I Want Her So" over James drums and some cool guitars. You don't need backing tracks; sometimes you don't even need a bass.

This show went from one extreme to the other. The Spectres were excellent as always. It was a fun show, even though it was such a strange lineup. I got to talk to a lot of friends, new and old. Sometimes all you need is rock 'n' roll.