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.
Show: 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“I think that is how that goes” were often repeated by the bands who
navigated through the haze of remembering ten year old songs.