Friday, February 5, 2010 at 3 p.m.
The Show: Fans have complained in the past of short sets, but now with two albums' worth of material, 60 Watt Kid has more room to stretch and flex their sound. Frontman Kevin Litrow yelped, barked and bellowed out his lyrics--most intended for cadence and tone rather than interpretive meaning. He frisked his way on stage to the sounds of looped organs and synths, while guitarist and soundscape device man Derek Thomas manned another set of samples and effects.
Their tonal progressions and bursts of sound felt like interplanetary travel, floating and weaving through gentle crescendos and turbulent breakdowns. The band built up a steady climax of guitar slop and lasers as if improvising the live score to a lyricless space opera. This is the sound of Star Wars
had George Lucas chosen off-the-wall composer Terry Riley over John Williams.
Litrow looked focused and energetic the entire set, pushing through the front row and passing the mic to fans during fist-pounding shout-alongs. Calm, cinematic intermissions played to the band's mellower side with soothing instrumentals that felt like a free fall through the cosmos, with all that stillness lasting only briefly before another round of calculated distortion.
Long Beach locals Tiger Tank Euphoria opened with an impressive set of jazz-inflected math rock before Texas natives Restaurant came on to perform a rousing set of hilbilly punk songs about getting drunk in Russia.
The Crowd: Unfortunately, 60 Watt Kid had to play to a somewhat boisterous and distracted crowd, with the audience having thinned out after the two openers. Several rows of dedicated fans, many of them bearded, occupied the tiny standing space of the Prospector, which was far-removed from the art spaces and all-ages venues that the band usually plays. Drunken banter diminished the less frenzied and quieter parts of the set, but the more interested members of the audience still seemed visibly moved.
Overheard: "I guess you have to be on drugs to enjoy this. I don't know, I guess the music's kind of relaxing, you know?"