For those not blessed enough to make it out to SXSW, there's always the inevitable spill from which to benefit. This weekend was slammed full of acts all over the map making their way back from Austin to their respective homes. For example, we stopped into all-ages DIY mecca Little Hamilton to catch Shellshag on their journey back to Brooklyn.
We walked into find a set by local '60s fetishists The Looking Glass already in progress. Backed by trip-endicular DIY visuals using oil, water, food coloring and an overhead projector, The Looking Glass strummed through washed-out, open-ended psych-surf instrumentals, drenched in reverb and punctuated by heavily sustained and delectably dirty fuzz tones. It reminded us that there was once a time when the idea of extending a song into jammy free-form territory wasn't such a dreadful thing: When Looking Glass' jams pass the normally sensible four-minute mark, it feels more like their groove is just hitting its stride rather than a bunch of masturbatory wankery. In stark contrast, the unruly, eponymous punk trio Cy Barkley kicked and screamed through five or six fast, loud and riotous increments of anthemic second wave-style hardcore complete with an old-school mosh pit. We dug it immensely, given we've got little left in the way of attention span. But being that we're tired old pansies, we've gradually aligned with Fugazi's stance on the mosh pit (i.e. not cool).
Moving right along, it wasn't even 10:30 and we had ample crowd watching the main attraction prepare to rock. Comprised of one old-school indie rocker bro on the electric guitar, and one equally old school indie-rocker lass on a standing three piece drum kit, Shellshag are a bona fide relic of the Gen X era, unscathed by the trends and void of all the contrived and forcedly "meaningful" pretenses of modern indie-rock bands. The two kick it easy, breezy and carefree with hook-laden pop gems that are too slow to be punk, too lazy to be power pop and too DIY to be what we've come to know as indie rock. In 1994, this would have been standard fare alongside acts like The Breeders, Superchunk, and Guided by Voices, but outside their decade of origin, they're both an anomaly and a breath of fresh air.
The evening closed out with Heavy Cream who rolled out the sloppy, three-chord, girl-powered Ramones-core routine we've come to expect, making for a pretty damn fine evening of entertainment, especially considering it only cost us three bucks.