If you’re any kind of Scene/Cream reader, you've probably noticed The Spin’s been Spinnin’ Daniel Pujol periodically since his ambiguous departure from the now semi-legendary local outfit MEEMAW all the way up to his recently signed status at Saddle Creek — which this weekend manifested itself into a record release show for his latest and aptly titled Nasty, Brutish and Short.
With five whole bands on the evening's bill, things kicked off at an uncharacteristically decent hour — at least by The End's standards. Scrappy high school-age duo Fox Fun burned through a quick set of tunes that were sometimes blisteringly high-speed and punk in nature, and at other times power-poppy and advanced well beyond the band members' years. (Seriously, why weren't we in a band this good when we were 16?) Then it was time for some tight, mid-tempo, lady-fronted, catchy indie pop from King Arthur. With PUJOL drummer Stewart Copeland (yes, seriously, he's a drummer named Stewart Copeland) providing guitar and backing vocals, Arthur's lithe, dueling riffs and sweet, poppy melodies made The Spin and our cohorts think that these kids have probably listened to at least a little Built to Spill (Modest Mouse may also be substituted in this instance).
Then it was a particularly breezy set by locals D. Watusi. Frontman Watusi (aka Dillon Watson) has been impressing the shit out of us since before he could drive, back when he was fronting the precociously raw blues-rockin’ Kindergarten Circus. These days he’s harnessed those primal licks into sweetly tempered garage pop much better suited for dancing. Though, when it comes to dancing — at least this night — The Spin just tends to sway in any number of directions doing our damnedest to make sure no beer spills in the process.
Taking the stage — on, of all days, that of his birth — our newest hometown heavyweight, Bright Eyes labelmate and sometime Cream contributor (via his poems, EGGS, with partner Alexa Zoe Sullivant), Pujol and his crew came out to give us a taste of what he’s been up to alongside those Omaha-based indie stalwarts. Frankly, it’s not a whole lot different from the sporty-tempo'd, brainily worded, despicably catchy pop-as-punk bullets he’s been firing in the form of EPs, mp3s, cassettes, singles and the like from every damn bedroom label in town and beyond. The newer jams are just as smart, sweet and singable — and they sounded way better once our 20-minute wait for a PBR ended so we could elbow our way up front.
Speaking of birthdays, this one was a double-header. It’d been Pujol’s mortal coil anniversary all damn day, but head Turbo Fruit Jonas Stein turned a ripe 24 at the stroke of midnight — an opportune time to headline this clambake of clamor. Like Pujol & Co., the Fruits too seem to have gelled their contagious take on bluesy garage pop that seemed to rollick, dip and dally as we weaved in and out of The End’s awkward entrances and exits to maneuver various vice and conversations. The new ones were the tightest ever. And somewhere in all the ruckus and between the barrel-rolling crowd surfers, we talked to a friend of the Fruits about their forthcoming record. We're sworn to secrecy, but there may just be a cameo in there that's well worth holding out for. Our lips are sealed.
So anyhow, happy birthday, boys. We should hope that you — unlike us codgers at The Spin — have got many more comin’.