At first I was sickened by the fact that no one was there. As Gestapo Pussy Ranch took the stage there were only 20 kids or so watching the upstairs stage, so you can only imagine what the downstairs stage looked like.
GPR was as punk rock as they come. The sound was terrible, the vocals were off, and they strutted around the stage like they owned the place. Their vocalist was great, he even left the stage during one song to get another beer...now that's punk rock.
GPR played about 10 minutes and were done, it was something to see. They weren't a good band, but they were entertaining. By the end of their set the place was filling up a bit more, people count: 60
Next up was the Ballistics. These guys were there to rock the place. It was wild. I was very impressed by their performance. It had a tendancy to get boring at times, but then you stopped watching their guitarist and focused on the madmen. The bassist and vocalist had the most energy. I was really surprised to see a band as good as this at a local showcase.
After the Ballistics played, I made my way downstairs to see The Hates. This is Houston's answer to the Ramones. These guys have been playing in Houston since the 70's. They're always fun to watch, but on this night, they were nothing special to see. This mostly fell on the lousy crowd response. Most of the fashion punks were too busy sitting in chairs looking punk rock instead of running around and pumping the energy level up. This is a prime example of how a terrible crowd can hurt a band.
The Hates themselves didn't move too much either, so it's not all the crowd's fault. Christian, lead vocalist/guitarist, couldn't move too much due to singing, and their bassist did stay mobile for the most part. It takes a high energy band to pull of a 3-piece properly. I was disappointed in their set, but I've seen The Hates rock the house before. Everyone can have an off night.
The band of the night was Next To Nothing. I wasn't really too stoked to see them after the performance they had with the Ataris, but here they were. I can honestly say this band put on one of the worst shows (w/ Ataris) and one of the best shows (this night) I have seen this year. They came out with energy and rocked the place. They were the first band of the night that had people yelling out songs and wanting more.
At the last show, you couldn't hear the guitar at all and that killed the set. This show the sound board was properly ran so Next To Nothing tore the place up. They were full of energy, and they pulled off a stellar performance. Scott's vocals were dead on and Brian's bass playing was sweet and his vocals were just as good when he sang. I just loved the set. The drummer, Charlie, kept everything together tight. This band honestly has a good future. They already have a few tours under their belt.
This band does a good job off keeping things lively despite only being a 3-piece. They all move a lot and never stay in one area of the stage. It was a lot of fun to see a strong performance like this one.
There were other bands playing this show, like Bickley, but I was just too exhausted to stay for the entire show. It was a lot of fun to see and the crowd had reached over a hundred by the time I left, so people were making it out to see the show. People need to spend more time going to see local bands, support you scene!
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.