Rough Shag : That Fucking Tank, Shields, Firesuite

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…the thing is: I like Bungalows and Bears. I’ve said this several times to everyone and it’s my lucky place. Really. It’s the only place women have walked towards me and started a conversation. True, 75% they were extremely drunk but, hey, they were good conversations…

So I don’t really get when people go “Bungalows and Bears?” when I tell them there’s this night called Rough Shag when some preconceptions are rattled and loud sine and cosine waves soak the Holy Walls of Don Sam Tenorio’s Pub O’Luck (TM).

Anyways…

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I think I’ve recommended Firesuite to everyone I know and it’s something about their music that always sells the deal. It’s not shoegaze, it’s not space rock, it’s not math rock, it’s somewhere in the middle of that imaginary triangle of genres, sometimes running towards one of the vertices, but never staying too far from the middle. It’s a steampunk machine, fuelled by a fierce drummer that keeps everyone on their toes. Outside of ‘Red World’, the great track from the eponymously titled EP, the set consisted of new songs that have been slowly crafted over the past year or so. Set opener ‘Deadbeat’ is a powerful one and ‘Opened’ deftly mixes longing and catharsis in a heavily distorted swoop.

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Shields. I once called them “Viking Grunge”, but my fellow reviewer Fuzz Caminski says they are actually “Medieval prog core” (TM Paul Fores.) “Será el sereno” as they say in my hometown of Tampico, as navelgazing genrefying is pointless once these five individuals take the stage. Thunderous is an adjective I’d use copiously with them, as Shields do love that chug-a-chug sound that mixes bits of sludge and heavy metal. The well oiled machine this band is feels quite at home at the venue, and ‘Christpuncher’ is always like a warm punch to the teeth.  Don’t ask me for a full setlist, I was too busy headbanging.

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A question always pops in my head when That Fucking Tank play and that question is: Is time moving backwards or forwards? This is because I never know what exactly they are doing when they play live, but I know it’s confusing and I enjoy every second of it. The duo works this way: drums are laid out as a restraining limit that will ensure that the guitar riffing never falls into the dreaded Malsteem/Petrucci anomaly that is known to suck out all the feeling from music and then the guitarist just soars around, sometimes tending towards that limit, but like any integral operation, never quite actually reaching it, just a slight dx away from the full form.

There’s sort of second level at Bungalows and Bears, where a semi-circled shaped sofa oversees the stage, the bar and that open range some see as a dance floor, some see as a place to fumble words with someone of the opposite sex. From that high view, the notes of That Fucking Tank took another dimension, for a moment there, amongst the doodled riffs and drumbeats, you could almost sense that the band was doing live electronics disguised as post rock. Many danced to it but never realised this, even when a slight homage to KISS‘ ‘I was made for lovin’ you’ emanated from the stacked up amplifiers. And that was the best trick That Fucking Tank pulled that Rough Shag of a night.

Words & Photos: Sam J. Valdés López.

That Fucking Tank Website. Bandcamp. Facebook. Twitter.

Shields FacebookWebsiteTwitterBandcamp.

Firesuite BandcampTwitterFacebookLast.fmMyspaceSoundcloud.

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