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Concert Review: War Party at The Wherehouse

War Party February 24th, 2013 The Wherehouse 2510 Hemphill, Fort Worth 817-308-9762 wherehousefortworth.com

Posted 8:30am on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

In 2011, I saw the band War Party at one of their earliest performances. They were a bit rough around the edges, but they had a lot of potential, and I’ve been wondering how they shaped up. So on Sunday, I saw that local indie label Lo-Life Recording was having a big throwdown at the Where House – I had to check it out.

Where House had two stages set up, with Andy Pickett, UBOAT, Spider Friends, Siberian Traps, Bitch Bricks, Doom Ghost, War Party, Year of the Bear, Sea Lion and Fungi Girls on the main stage. Meanwhile, on a second stage in one of the back rooms were Great Big Beluga, Toy Gun, Big Fiction and Mailman.

If you haven’t been to the Where House, it’s a converted warehouse with several rooms and courtyards, and the space is constantly changing. When I got there on Sunday evening, we had a dunking tank set up out back, in which drunken Where Housians threw balls at a target while a shirtless man randomly fell into the water – completely unrelated to whether or not the target was hit. There was also a kissing booth set up in the other courtyard.

But no time for love, Dr. Jones: War Party was taking the stage. The band is made up of Cameron Smith (guitar, vocals), Peter Marsh (drums), Tyler Moore (bass), Space Wolf (trombone) and Ricky Williford (guitar, trumpet).

These guys have come a long way since I saw them play at Lola’s a couple of years ago. They hit the stage in the main room with energy and that kind of punk arrogance that seemed lacking before. Moore’s upfront driving bass work was strangely and delightfully offset by horns – horns for God’s sake. Space Wolf, a rather animated trombone player, even decided to go crowd surfing while he continued playing trombone, and Cameron climbed up on the bass drum.

The carnival atmosphere Where House always brings to the party was the perfect environment for the vibe that War Party and Lo-Life Recording puts out. The crowd was really into the whole thing, and we even got a modest pit going for a spell.

Before I had to duck back out, I got to hear a few songs from Year of the Bear. This group consists of Josh Bear Browning (bass), Jennifer Red Rux (guitar), and Robby Rux (drums, vocals). The band was a bit lower energy and more polished sounding than War Party, and quite enjoyable on a different level. I hope to see more of them in the future.

Where House has shown that it certainly knows how to throw a party, and Lo-Life seems to have a pretty good stable of musicians to promote. In addition, it was the 59th birthday of Live Oak owner Bill Smith, who took his turn in the dunking tank in honor of the occasion. He’s the father of Where House owner Casey Smith. Happy birthday, Bill.

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