Show review: Aaron Dresner & Van Houten
Hiss (who didn’t get to play)
Ann Arbor, MI
23 April 2011
It’s been a while since I was at a small show, and a longer time since I had seen the debut of a new local band. Saturday night I was among the medium sized audience at a party in one of those small weird spaces in town. It all started very low key with people hanging out and talking. Right away I could see that this was and older group made up mostly of people in their late 20s and early 30s, which is all to say that there was little of the teen and YA posturing and tension…. We were all there to see friends, to hear the music and check out what was going on.
Aaron Dresner started the show with an acoustic set of Alt Country, Indie Folk Blues originals. It was very much in the vein of the music covered by No Depression or the 9 Bullets blog. It was silent while he was playing and there were cheers between songs, I found myself hearing something familiarly in the songs, but I couldn’t put my finger on it…, which is a good thing. The two artists that did come to mind while Dresner was playing were Alela Diane and Sea Wolf. I would definitely like to hear more of Dresner in the future.
There was a pause while VAN HOUTEN took their places at the front, and a film started to be projected behind them. It was a 60s educational film on birth and a very graphic view of childbirth at that. Now I have been going to shows of all kinds since the mid 90s, and this was the first time that I saw an audience react to a film being shown in the way they did to this one. It was just jarring and several people turned away and finally the film was turned off. I just figured it was the birth control part of the evening.
Van Houten started to play and it was clear that they were hooking into the whole Garage Punk rattle and roll groove. They had a sloppiness the was fun and engaging.
The short set featured a selection of originals and a couple of covers, my favorite was the original just called Western which started with a dusty epic feel before raving up into a blast of full throttle punk noise. The covers included Have Love will travel and a Beat Happening song that I don’t know the title of… but was great. If they are going to do any more Beat Happening, they should consider Red Head Walking as being ideal for them. Over all I liked their performance and sound and look forward to hear more from them in the future.
Hiss did not play due to someone near by calling the police about the noise. I can only assume it was a get off my lawn type of deal, anyway, I hope to check them out next time.