This past weekend I was scanning the events section of Facebook and spotted a band name I had not seen in quite some time. The Red 100’s were one of my favorite bands a year or two back, part of a new shift of the local music scene to a raw, radical, psychedelic blues-rock. Then, sadly, the band moved off to Austin. Additionally, its larger-than-life bass player, Robbie Love, left the group. I hadn’t heard from the Red 100’s since, but Sunday they were playing an afternoon slot at The Where House’s End of Summer party.
I got to the Where House and found Ben Napier setting up the sound inside. Outside, summer hadn’t gotten the notice that it was supposed to be ending and it was like the surface of the sun. People were soaking in a small pool. The Red 100’s were setting up to play outside. These days, the group consists of Raul Mercado (guitar, vocals) and Kyle Scheumack (drums, vocals).
Right out of the gate, the Red 100’s reminded us of who they were and that they came to play. Percussion was explosive, vocals emphatic, the guitar work frantic and unrestrained. Even in the heat, these guys gave it hell, and I remembered why I was so impressed when I saw them the first time around. They ripped through originals and at least one cover (the Beatles’ Money).
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Love in this band; he always did bring a sense of theatrics. And having a bass did fatten up the sound a bit. That said, the Red 100’s can still melt the face off of lesser bands, even as a duo. The crowd willing to brave the heat may have been thin, but it was appreciative. The lucky ones in the pool got the performance sans heatstroke.
Back inside, I swung by the bar to get another bottle of water (it’s hydrate or die at a show like this) and sat down in the A/C to check out Bitch Bricks, an all-girl punk trio consisting of Alena Springer on drums, Jennifer Rux on bass and Emma-Lee Schuyler Stapleton on guitar.
What struck me about this band was the rhythm section. Drums were exceedingly well-played for a lo-fi kind of band like this, and while the bass lines were nothing flashy, you could close your eyes and imagine that the bass and drums were being played by the same person — the instruments were that in sync, and the result was a rock-solid foundation.
Stapleton, for some reason, had a watch cap over her mike as a makeshift wind screen and was playing what looked to be a Danelectro guitar through an old Sears Silvertone amp (Danelectro made Silvertone guitars as well, so it could have been both). The guitar sound was what you would expect from that rig — a thin buzz saw of a sound that gave off a vintage, angry feel. It was well-played, if a bit over the top. Stapleton’s vocals at times had character, but the overall effect sounded as though she was singing through a hat (which she was), and the whole thing turned to mud. Words were indistinguishable, which was a shame, because I would have liked to have heard her. Nonetheless, I liked this band, and think it shows promise.
It’s been far too long since I made a Where House show, and whenever summer really ends and things cool off, I look forward to many more days of good music (both indoors and out) here. Bands continued for the rest of the day, long after I left, with War Party, Fungi Girls and other playing throughout.