If you tell people from Ohio that maybe some people didn't come to their show because of the snow that fell four days ago, they will probably laugh. If those people from Ohio are in the band Times New Viking, it will be a good-natured guffaw, a mildly jolly chortle, a bemused but friendly shrug. So yeah, there weren't as many people at The Basement Monday night as a Times New Viking fan might have hoped for or expected, but those who did make it out got a real treat for their effort.
We walked in to see local trio Ocelots midset, laying down their mixture of big-bottom bass, arpeggiated double-time guitar and interlocking block-rocking beats. We didn't feel let down by either the cellar they were playing in or the ghost of '90s indie rock that inhabits their music. In fact, we were happy to hear that the last few songs -- "a little more song-y than I remember Ocelots being," a friend of The Spin remarked -- are being recorded for a new EP due out sometime this year.
A lot of times, the question when you see a band is, "Can they sound as good live as they do on their albums?" In the case of Times New Viking, the question is more like, "Can they sound as shitty?" The answer is yes! Now, to clarify: By "shitty" what we mean is "blown-out and totally awesome."
Drummer Adam Elliott was a ball of spazzed-up energy. After an opening noise-rock salvo, he shouted, "So that was three songs -- I know, these don't seem like songs! Onetwothreefour!" And then we all got launched back into the hyperfuzz blast furnace, as Elliott, keyboardist Beth Murphy and guitarist Jared Phillips wailed and bashed their way through a kick-ass set -- including a song dedicated to Brad Paisley (a no-show, despite the TNV album Present the Paisley Reich) and another one about "doing mushrooms in Buffalo." When Phillips broke a string mid-song, he pulled out an identical backup (always a classy move) and the band, after discussing it briefly, picked up roughly where they'd left off. Seth from Natural Child volunteered to swap out the broken string while the band played on, and everybody was happy.