Spring Club Crawl™

Various Venues, Saturday, April 21

These are some of the highlights of the 24 bands I caught at Saturday's Club CrawlTM--the ones that'll fit here, anyway. Enjoy!

Local "punk-rockers" the Distortionists, playing outdoors, appeared to be wearing their "Saturday visitation with daddy" attire on stage, but still rocked out. Over at Club Congress, spooky surf rockers The Mission Creeps dressed dom-Nazi-chic (sans swastikas), featured goth go-go dancers and covered The Sopranos' theme song, "Woke Up This Morning." Elsewhere, indie-rocker Nick Luca appeared to have killed off another band member; indie-pop-rock locals The Swim covered The Zombies and the Beatles' "Helter Skelter."

At Club Congress, the multi-synth/piano-based Sweetbleeders (from Phoenix) shook up their schizo Queen/Radiohead-ish set with a country number, while a group of intoxicated girls near the Tap Room greeted strangers with their rendition of "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car." Later, Los Angeles' Let's Go Sailing played a satisfying set of string-enhanced, Grey's Anatomy-featured indie-pop songs. Lead singer Shana Levy was a good sport about multiple sound issues, promising a strip show later if we were patient; Sand Rubies bassist Robin Johnson saved the day, fixing the problem.

An enthusiastic mob was hugging newbie prog-rockers Mostly Bears' outdoor stage just before I ran into an ex's little sister who was watching (who else?) the New Romantic bad boys The Year of Acceleration, who technically weren't playing anthemic U2 and Oasis covers--it just sounded that way. At the District, Will Elliott's guitarist Clay Koweek joined Salvador Duran, giving an Allman Brothers vibe to Duran's Mexi-Americana flamenco. Later, pop phenom Andrew Collberg debuted "Behind the Glass," which sounded like "Cry Baby Cry" from "The White Album." Outside, generator failures plagued the energetic (ironic!) band The Jons, usually one of the event's most anticipated performances.

Back at Congress, a soundman (who had earlier mocked The Kohl Heart's frustrated lead singer as she begged for more vocals in her monitor) rushed the outdoor stage during Chango Malo's set, grabbed a band member mid-song and furiously (and wrongly) accused him of throwing a beer bottle at the soundboard. (WTF?!) Meanwhile, Ian Moore's indoor set began as sort of a bluesy, Calexico-ish duo with vibes and mariachi horns, before turning into an all-star band featuring local heavy-hitters and fellow Austinites Hilary York and Matt Hopper.

Despite the sound issues, it was a fun night--the crowd was well-behaved, and there was a positive vibe in the air. See you at Fall Club CrawlTM in October!