White Mystery, The Lolitas, Lead Stones @ Asefu’s September 8th 2011

Photo by Tara Robles

I got to the show a little early, and went across the street to one of the Ethiopian restaurants on the block.  I got something called doro wat, which tasted great but my stomach later regretted it. 

I went inside while the first band – Lead Stones, from New York – was playing.  They are a three-piece: drums, guitar, and keyboard/synthesizer. They were described as “psychedelic,” and that is a very accurate description for someone like me who is only marginally familiar with the psychedelic records of the 1960s. Their songs were very slow and didn’t have a lot of chord changes – they just would hang on one chord forever. The keyboard player looked really into it; he pretty much looked like a 1960s stereotype, with a thick mustache. He would close his eyes when he was playing and look like he was really into an LSD trip. 

The best part of their set was the TV slightly to the left of the stage. The movie “Catwoman” was on, the one with Halle Berry. There were subtitles too, which was awesome. I watched the scene where she escapes from a prison cell by sliding through the bars. Earlier it looked like her skull was bigger than the bars – yet somehow she squeezes through! Even the most yoga-obsessed gymnast can’t squeeze her skull. I remember the movie better than the band.

Next up was The Lolitas (or maybe it’s “Thee” Lolitas – I’ve seen it spelled both ways). I am chronically late to shows, and I usually arrive later than I plan to, so I’ve missed Theeee Lolitas at least two or three times when I’ve wanted to see them. Their drummer Jack has given me grief for never being there when they play, so I had to be there this time or else I would be a huge asshole, not to mention that they are awesome. 

The Lolitas are a two-piece (guitar and drums), but they happened to be playing as a three piece at this show, with one of the members of Foul Swoops on a second guitar. They play stripped-down, high-energy garage rock ‘n’ roll. They played a little sloppy, partly because they only had one or two practices with their second guitar player. Also the guitar and vocals weren’t loud enough. Part of the reason for that is that Jack hits the drums hard – really, really hard – so hard that the drums were the loudest instrument, and after about four songs the bass drum started traveling forward. One of the guitar players stood in front of the bass drum for a bit but when he moved it happened again. After a few minutes of wandering drums Jack had the brilliant idea of crowdsourcing percussion. He took the floor tom and snare drum and gave them to audience members to keep the beat – a great end to a great set.

White Mystery, from Chicago, played last. They are a two-piece garage rock band, also high-energy though not all the songs are as fast as those of Theeeeeee Lolitas. The guitarist had a great tone and playing style that really filled out their sound. The drummer only had one cymbal (which had a large break in it) but he did a good job making the most of it. The singer had a great voice that reminded me of Jefferson Airplane – very deep and soulful. One of their songs sounded like the first line in the Ramones song “Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy” and had similar words, but she told me they hadn’t played any covers. They were really good – so good that I actually bought their tape, and I barely ever buy band merch anymore.

This was a show put together by Tara of City Slang Booking. The turnout was sorta weak at the beginning, but filled up during tha Lolitas. Overall, I thought the first band didn’t really fit on the show and sorta made things drag, but the other two bands more than made up for it. A – James Doubek

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