The Muslims, Crash Normal, Wounded Lion, Some Days April 23, 2008 The Phoenix Grille at UCI Better Than: Studying for that test tomorrow. Download: Nightlife by The Muslims.
This is cool: UCI student, Sam Farzin, has started to put on music shows at the UC Irvine’s The Phoenix Grille, one of the campus’ dining spots. Located in what one of the members of Wounded Lion described as “the anus” of UCI (you have to twist and turn and go down and around the campus until you find the Phoenix Grille), this wasn’t an easy spot to find for those of us who aren’t UCI students. This was Farzin's sixth show, and the third at this location. Though this was my first time at one of Farzin’s shows—he and his friends who collaborate these events go under the name Acrobatics Everyday—the Phoenix Grille definitely seems like the ideal spot - the sound is pretty good and the beer is cheap.
Up first were Some Days, a relatively new band made up of current and ex-members of Jail Weddings, Grand Elegance, FM Bats, The Babes, and The Clamour, who create an eclectic mix of psychedelic garage rock and soul with a little dub thrown in for good measure. Led by their drummer Anthony Matarazzo, who also handles vocal duties on most of the songs, Some Days have that “new band” feeling where they are still figuring each other out.
Next to play was Los Angeles’ Wounded Lion, who cranked the energy level way up in the small cafeteria-like room. There is nothing serious about this band whose song subjects include Coors Light and wizard piss. Wounded Lion would be the perfect band to tour the children’s wards in hospitals—for kids who like songs about beer and piss, anyway. With their energy, overall look, and the singer’s MC skills, it’s hard not smile when watching this band.
Crash Normal,a two-piece garage rock act with no drummer, from France were up next. Plagued by technical difficulties for almost the entire set, every time they started to get the crowd going, either the drum loop or vocals would cut out. Frustrating for the both the band and the audience alike, Crash Normal eventually ended their set after trudging though a final song with no drum loop at all.
Capping the night were San Diego’s The Muslims who are currently riding a small wave of blogger hype and are about to head out on a US tour with fellow San Diegans, The Night Marchers (John Reis’ new band). If you mix together the sounds of Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan (electric) and The Stooges you would come close to what The Muslims are bringing.
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Though the crowd had thinned by the end of the evening, those who stuck around were treated to one of the best dance parties I’ve seen in a long time. A long night of drinking cheap beer and The Muslims’ hip-shaking tunes were the perfect formula to entice the small but extremely enthusiastic crowd to get down. To quote a friend who saw the band a night earlier at The Echo, “The Muslims are the shit. Mark my words!” Yes they are, but we already knew that.
Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I was going to like this show no matter what, just because of what Sam and Acrobatics Everyday are doing.
Random Detail: Watched a “Take Back The Night” march through the quad while waiting for the show to start. . . there were more people marching than there were attendees at the show.
By the way: The Muslims play again this Sunday at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach.