After a relatively slow weekend — and even a cocaine binge on a Tilt-a-Whirl would seem slow after last weekend in Austin — Sunday provided some much-needed redemption via The End. There are few things more menacing than wandering through the venue’s darkened doors only to find it relatively empty and no band in sight. Fortunately, this time it was just paranoia getting the best of us.
A decent crowd magically oozed from out of the shadows while locals D. Watusi manned the lonely instruments onstage. The Spin has dropped more than our share of ink on Watusi if for no other reasons than they’re a solid band that seems to open practically every show we go to lately. Regardless, at their sweetly tempered, summery psych-pop start, we kinda longed for D’s (aka Dillon Watson's) riffing and rollicking days in Kindergarten Circus. That is, until Watson shifted up a gear or two with each song until he was shredding like a madman through a series of extended instrumental psychotropic dirges.
Next was our first glimpse of OGG — a gangly quartet of awkward adolescents with a refreshing predilection for amped-up, Southern-style jangle pop. Though they’ve got more than enough angst to transcend their inelegance, these dudes haven’t quite busted open their shell. Judging by the amount of time spent tuning their 12-string guitar between songs, these buds haven’t quite flourished, but they’re off to a better start than most.
Cy Barkley and the Way Outsiders too fall under the “more coverage than most” canopy. Again, not because their relentless onslaught doesn’t deserve it. But we risk plagiarizing ourselves while finding new ways to describe hulking frontman Cy Barkley’s purist approach to first-wave hardcore. Still, Barkley's one-two punch of brute force and anthemic tuneage is better than anything Tesco Vee is doing these days.
While this cavalcade of locals would seem more than enough to fill a proper bill, it was just a warm-up to make way for Austin’s Mind Spiders. Featuring members of The Marked Men, Wax Museums and Bad Sports — among others — these dudes are a veritable garage-pop supergroup whose mastery of hooks and harmonies is so deft it’s almost devious. What may seem like a decent enough power-pop jam suddenly sneaks in a recklessly catchy chorus before our brains have a chance to wander. Finding a fast and loose balance between Ramones-y pop and organ-fueled garage stomp, Mind Spiders capture the best of both in the least assuming way possible. Definitely rocket-fueled, but not in your face, these carefully crafted gems do occasionally erupt into controlled bursts of racket that lock directly back into their melodious groove — just to let you know, it’s never safe to stop listening.