The Hype: This past Friday at Alex's Bar in Long Beach or Sunday at the Glass House in Pomona represented the only two chances to catch the reconvening of the Killingtons. To satiate your cravings for '90s nostalgia, the billed was augmented with Teen Heroes, Jeff Caudill of Gameface and Michael Rosas of Smile. This bill could have sold out multiple nights if it took place 10 years ago.
Thick creamy distortion, detuned guitars, soaring melodies and a dash of swirling phaser colored guitars formed the musical blueprint of the Killingtons. Would their sound be dated in today's current musical climate? No. The twin guitar attack of JK Thompson and Mitch Townsend was refreshing as they hammered out waves of power chords on their drop-D tuned guitars.
The Killingtons were special in that they were hard to define musically. They had sonic elements of such '90s bands as Smashing Pumpkins, Hum, and Failure. But their penchant for melodies and the absence of guitar solos gave them a punk-like edge. The loud quiet loud dynamics of "Belly Dancer" brought back immediate flashbacks of people wearing backpacks and flannel.
It was impressive to see how tight the Killingtons were, given their prolonged hiatus. Songs like "Staring at the Concrete," "Crawl Space" and "Hairspray Failure" were flawless with devoted fans bobbing their heads in approval. A double shot of "Thursday" and "The Best I Know" forced me to readjust my earplugs as the guitars shook the Glass House. The Killingtons closed their set appropriately with "Thank You" and "Bent," thanking the crowd for enjoying 1999 all over again.
Teen Heroes also flirted with the mainstream back in the late '90s with their crunchy pop anthems. Lead singer Jesse Wilder seemed to have a revelation a few songs into the set when quipped that the songs were bipolar. The effects of inflation were evident during "Radio Listener" with the lyrics stating "paying $12 dollars for a $5 dollar show". Ironically, the ticket price for this show was $12.
Jeff Caudill of Gameface said he just left a birthday party for a 6-year-old before working through a handful of songs. He mentioned the last time he played the Glass House was with At The Drive In
. Armed with an acoustic guitar, Caudill did a stripped-down version of "Warmest Heart Attack" that had him shaking his head afterward, mentioning he hadn't played it in years.
Michael Rosas of Smile mentioned he woke up and started to freak out realizing he had to learn how to play songs that were ten years old. While I was secretly hoping he would play some songs from the highly underrated fuzz classic album "Maquee," Rosas opted for later-era Smile. acoustically covering "Sputnik," "Lawndarts" and the grooving "Freaky Slowdance."
The Crowd: Given it was a Sunday night, only a handful of highly devoted fans, friends, and family members assembled at the Glass House. One person did apparently fly out from Chicago to see the Killingtons.
Overheard: "Something like that" and "I think that is how that goes" were often repeated by the bands who navigated through the haze of remembering ten year old songs.