Those of us who couldn’t rustle up the scratch to make it to Pitchfork still managed to have our thirst for some kitschy indie tunes slaked with a much-anticipated performance from How I Became the Bomb Friday night. When we entered The Basement, we were delighted to see its newest addition—a brand new bar at the front of the venue. While it’s cash-only, it still beats the hell out of having to fight your way through the seething masses each time you want a fresh PBR. Well done, Grimey. Well done.
Practiced Murfreesboro popsters Velcro Stars may have looked slightly like a shrunken-down Decemberists, but their brainy, upbeat style of indie pop sounded a bit more like Superchunk with occasional Malkmus-like vocal inflection. The Stars’ set was endearing, warm and peppered with a few lively instrumental stretches, though the lyrics were a bit difficult to make out. They closed with an uncharacteristically funky tune that was full of playful falsetto.
By the time New York natives The Rosewood Thieves took the stage, the crowd had already begun to fill out. Lead singer Erick Jordan’s ultra-wet, out-in-front vocals were offset by a backdrop of ghostly, vaguely psychedelic guitars and badass organs that left us scratching our heads as to just what the Thieves’ influences might be. (Maybe The Band? Dr. Dog?) The nebulous crew of Northern rockers played about a dozen bluesy tunes, the most art-rocky of which could even be OK Computer B-sides…if Thom Yorke were a sassy, soulful youngster from the Big Apple.
The Basement was all sticky, jerking bodies as soon as How I Became the Bomb kicked off their set. HIBTB played the usual gems (“Killing Machine”, “Secret Identity”, etc.), but also included a few brand new tunes off their forthcoming album that were packed with fat synth parts and smooth, hooky bass—and yes, they were a bit of a step in a mature new direction, though they retained the bright, youthful vigor we’ve all come to expect from The Bomb. Singer Jon Burr was his usual sharp self, adjusting his rings and trading energy with the crowd, which was made up of a more than a few baby-faced new fans. No matter your opinion of How I Became the Bomb, you can’t hate on a band that so adeptly utilizes a vocoder. The boys from the Boro showed us once again just how to be bomb.