NOLA weekend.

The Spits, Nobunny Super Destroyers, Missing Monuments @ Saturn Bar

Degree of Awesomeness Index: 9.5/10

I haven't been going to as many shows as usual lately. I guess because I've been too busy tending to my own bands and all that. Oh, and there just haven't been too many shows worth going to. But then, after a long day of recording the next Thou EP (and two Nirvana covers) and then playing a show at Hey! Cafe with Baby Boy (alongside the amazing Small Bones) I heard about a killer punk/garage show going down at the Saturn Bar. It was actually a pretty loaded night for live music between those two shows and Hurray For The Riff Raff at Allways. I felt like Riff Raff was a little too mellow for my blood on a Saturday night, so off to the Saturn Bar we trekked.

Missing Monuments are a throwback garage-rock band fronted by King Louie (cornerstone of the burgeoning NOLA garage scene). Just like every other genre of music ever, I normally hate this kind of stuff. I know, right: What other genres could I possibly loathe? New Wave? Proto-metal? Jazz-Fusion Metal? So-called "Noise Rock" ? Well, sure. There's always some band out there that will make hate an entire genre. And by the same token, there will always be some band that will be the exception. My thing with garage rock is its lack of innovation and reliance on rock cliches that were worn out by real garage rock bands in the 60s. Dude, I get it. You like "chicks" and "getting kicks" and "cheap thrills" and shitty guitar playing. But it's the year 2010. I'm sorry.

Well, Missing Monuments had a little more attitude that all that, and they actually had some decent hooks. If you don't have good hooks with this type of music, you might as well sit at home and think up a new genre to ape. Oh yea, the singer had some classic quotes like, "we are the best goddamn band in this city, so fuck you!" A dubious claim? You better believe it. Entertaining? Yes, definitely. And that's all that really matters on a Saturday night in a dirty bar, I reckon.

Super Destroyers took it a notch higher. Still poppy and garage-like, but with a dose of punk mixed in there. And vocals that worked really well. And no pretense. Looking forward to see these dudes again.

Nobunny came up next, but I didn't catch the whole set as I was outside catching up with some people. When I got back in I saw guys in bunny masks going apeshit while a sea of bodies swayed across the room. Genre-wise, I guess you could call this garage-y punk. Emphasis on the punk. It was hard to even concentrate on the music since I was defending myself against the general cacophony.

The Spits brought their A-game, and after a few drinks I was in some kind of A-game mode as well. No garage-y bullshit with this band, just raw working-class punk dressed up in cutoff denim vests. The crowd was out of control from the first note and after a few songs standing my ground, I finally gave in to the undulating mass of sweat and got lost in its flesh-swath. At some point I even crowd surfed, though it was short lived. The band did a marathon set with very little fucking around between songs, and even pumped out an encore or two. Finally the heat took over, and the drummer yelled, "we're not playing any more songs, everyone get the fuck out!"

That show was a classic example of how playing on the floor instead of a stage is infinitely more enjoyable for both the band and crowd. People are much more apt to dance around and enjoy themselves when they're on the same level as the band.

Twin Stumps, Kyklooppien Sukupuuto, Kim Phuc, Nutria Assault @ The Saint

Degree of Awesomeness Index: 7/10

Saturday night did a number on my body and mind, but a good punk show is often enough to motivate me for Round Two. After drinks at the obscure Garden District Pub (served to my cohorts and I by my favorite bartender/friend-4-lyfe Anne) and a bowl chili at the Half Moon, we wandered over to the Saint just in time to see Kyklooppien Sukupuuto. They are a hardcore band from Finland who seemed very excited to be in the states. The crowd was mostly tame except for a couple of crusties who were apparently having a very good night. There's always that dude at the show who insists on a one-man mosh extravaganza. I appreciate someone wanting to incite some craziness at a hardcore show, but if no one else is feeling it then you just look like an asshole shoving everyone. Anyhow, the band was exactly what I wanted: fast, loud, and excited.

Kim Phuc was up next, and I was really pumped on what I had heard online. Plus, one of the dudes was in Caustic Christ. They brought it pretty hard with some mid-tempo noisy hardcore. You could probably call this "post-hardcore" but that's kind of a stupid sounding description. They were really awesome, though. The one-man mosher stepped up his game, so I was forced to step mine up as well. He kept knocking into me and making me spill my drink, so I was shoving back and getting kind of peeved. It sucked because I was trying to focus on the band. Well, he finally knocked me to the ground, at which point he helped me up and apologized profusely. At least he was a nice guy. Still, he was being THAT dude.

Twin Stumps fucking sucked. I don't even want to waste another sentence on them.

We hung out outside with the singer for Kim Phuc, who was one of the nicest, most enthusiastic guys I've met at a show. Then we did a shot of whiskey and drove home.