It’s not often we cynical old buzzards at The Spin gets to claim a first. Today we get a whole lot of them. For example, Thursday night was our first official show at Cannery Row’s newest addition, The High Watt (we can now say that the Mercy/High Watt/Cannery Complex is a veritable rock 'n' roll Mall of America). Down the hall and up the stairs of the Cannery Complex sits this cozy, stylish, no-frills rock venue in which we’ll no doubt find something to nitpick about soon. But for now, it’s a pretty sweet hang.
If we may bust out another first, we’re not sure we’ve ever properly given newcomers Scale Model a proper welcoming. Decked out in vests and ties, sporting matching see-through guitars — not to mention the Cream/Scene's own shutterbug and science fetishist Steve Cross back behind the drums — Scale Model melds a meek collab of '70s power pop with '80s new wave. With tunes ranging from outright catchy to rather hummable, the female-fronted quartet’s humble presence is counter-pointed with a whirlwind of fuzz, synths and melody.
The room had filled by now to a comfortable capacity — not quite packed. But what would have made for an awkwardly desolate affair at Mercy was again a fairly snug hang in the new space. When spotting the High Watt’s sound guy running about while using an iPad, we mistakenly figured he was probably Skyping or some such. Turns out he was mixing sound on that thing. Technology!
But we’re not out of first stuff yet. The substantially moderate Interweb buzz concerning the spanking-new Echo Group has brought several times to our attention a few streamable samples. However, knowing their 7-inch release party — a split with fellow locals Mom & Dad — was on the horizon (it’s the very show about which we’re talking right now!), we wanted to go in fresh. Centered around core members of defunct 'Boro heavyweights We Were the States, the three former WWTS members have expanded their shit — with more personnel and bigger arrangements. Singer Justin Webb’s growling croon is still a dead-ringer for that of Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, but it’s easy to accept that as a mere coincidence when digging on this energetic amalgamate of jangle pop, indie rock and Southern soul complete with a four-piece horn section.
Rounding out the evening was the aforementioned Mom and Dad — first time we've Spun them, too. It was not, however, the first time we’ve enjoyed their organ-fueled, semi-psychedelic garage-pop freak-out. Their frontman’s guitar spasms, over-the-top delivery and overall bravado borderline on obnoxious, but we’ll take that over boring any day. Especially amid a night of firsts. Themes!