Sloppy-Good

Photo by James BunoanTerrors/Brett Cutts/60 Watt Kid/Foot Foot
Koo's, Long Beach
Sunday, Jan. 2

On a lazy, cold, wet Sunday night, as God's urine rained down upon us, we could think of no better way to begin a new year than with something warm and comforting, like an evening of mostly acoustic music at Koo's. But "warm and comforting" and "Koo's" usually turns into an oxymoron for a variety of reasons. Like, why do people let the big, heavy door leading into the performance space from the art gallery slam really loud during particularly quiet musical passages, and then pretend they're not annoying anybody? This wasn't a hardcore show, where that sort of thing would go unnoticed.

As the first band, Foot Foot bore the brunt of this rudeness, which especially irked us because we dug 'em—two girls on guitars and mandolins, and a guy who did everything else, from singing backup to percussion solos banged out on what looked like wine and soy-sauce bottles. Their tunes were sweet and twangy—sort of like a more stripped-down, chicken-fried Rilo Kiley—with song titles that didn't always match what they were singing about but were nonetheless charming, even the one in which they sang about scabies and put it in a romantic context. They were cute—even when they occasionally fucked up a chord change.

Mostly a solo guy with a Korg keyboard, a harmonica and a juiced-up acoustic, 60 Watt Kid began by offering up a 10-minute instrumental wank-off that sounded like soundtrack music to a bad student film, which he mercifully killed off with a burst of obnoxious traffic-jam noise. Yet the rest of his set wasn't horrible (other than the frequent clunky lyric—"Ocean is my power/Ocean is my shower?"), and the Kid often crossed the line into the sublime whenever the aural bounty included just him and his guitar and harp, inducing some truly beatific moments. But then just when he would win us over, he'd get performance-art crazy on us, seizing all over the guitar, jiggling all about and screaming for no good reason. A definite work in progress, this one.

Brett Cutts began with a band whose drummer adorned a Mexican-wrestling mask and a faux-coconut bra. The music wasn't nearly as cheeky, a sweet amalgam of blues, country and weird sonic esoterica, and when the band departed after a few songs, it was mostly Cutts up there, conjuring the ghost of Son House, with otherworldly, punched-in-the-groin-too-many-times vocals and songs about death creeping in the room and death been here 'n' gone—aching end-of-life paeans that could've been penned in the '30s, unless they really were and it was a covers set.

Terrors were a swell trio that by this time were waging war on crowd indifference, judging by the guy sitting along one wall who busied himself with a bongo solo (no, he wasn't in the band) and the couple next to him who insisted on showing off their Frenching skills to everybody. But the band was great, sort of a minimalist Preservation Society Kinks with a loose, pop-twang bend, and by "loose," we mean either sloppy-good or drunken-good. Or both. (Rich Kane)

 
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