West Coast rock took over the Biltmore on Tuesday night as LA’s Bleached led a bill that ranged from scorching and destructive to sunny and danceable.
Local openers Necking wasted no time blitzing through the nine songs from their debut album, Cut Your Teeth. In a flash, opening firecracker “Go Getter” was over. Singer Hannah Karren hit plenty of back arches throughout their brief set. While Sonya R. unloaded leadened bass notes like shotgun slugs, Hannah playfully booted her between throwing high-kicks. Necking pummelled hardest on “No Playtime,” with drummer Melissa Kuipers picking up the speed until the song unravelled. “Habbo Hotel” was a lumbering ode to the follies of the virtual chat room of the same name. But as much as it lumbered, it unleashed Necking’s most destructive moment as the band tore things down and Hannah shrieked about cybersex and A/S/L.
Seattle’s Dude York were no less intense but with polished power-pop. The gigantic riffs and choruses and exuberant solos of songs like “The Way I Feel” called to mind 90s alt-rockers Weezer and Sebadoh. Songs like “Falling,” the eponymous track from Dude York’s latest album, and “Let Down” channelled contemporaries like Waxahatchee and Cayetana. But “Box” seemed to explicitly reference unlikely acts. It began with familiar lyrics: “It started with a kiss. Who would have thought that it would end like this?” As guitarist Peter Richards sang this couplet lifted nearly word for word from the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” the song cruised along to the exact same melody as “Cold War” by Janelle Monae.
Bleached also mixed things up, showcasing their new disco hits alongside their sunny bottle- rocket punk classics. Bleached pursued a poppier direction on their latest album, this year’s Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?, but in an impressive feat, their danceable new tracks, like “Hard to Kill,” which even lean towards disco, were some of the best of the night. Whether Bleached pulled from their new album or searched through the past, they were at their best not when they waltzed through mid-tempo songs like “Heartbeat Away” and “Wednesday Night Melody” but rather when they rocked through “Valley to LA,” “Sleepwalking,” “Daydream,” and “Rebound City.” That said, though, “Dead in Your Head” was a highlight, too, for the way it slowly picked up speed and climaxed in a furious whirl of guitar solos, reminding fans how great the band can be when they play with more abandon. Sometimes abrasive, usually catchy, and always lively, Bleached with Dude York and Necking hit all the right notes when it comes to rock.
review by Leslie Chu