Def Rain, Cool Womb - Macaroni Island - 10/7/12
Def Rain, Cool Womb, Know Nothing Party, Gravies and the Main Dish Sauce
Rachel Watts Gravies and the Main Dish Sauce and their fan Craig Welch (seated)
Sunday, October 7
About 30 bodies huddled in the converted garage at 2311 Houston Place on Sunday night for Macaroni Island's second house show. With its concrete floors, track lighting and egg-crate foam padding, the mid-sized room accommodated four acts: Cool Womb, Know Nothing Party, Gravies and the Main Dish Sauce, and Def Rain.
Cool Womb is the newest brainchild of Spooky Folk's Kaleo Kaualoku and Peopleodian's Chris Bryan, and embodies a little electro, a little math rock and a little ambiance. With Kaualoku on guitar and Bryan on both keys and drums, the two opened the night with a 20-minute set. Mac Island resident Michael Briggs says he plans to host many touring bands; this time around they had two, from North Carolina and New Hampshire.
"I would ideally like for all shows to have at least one touring band," says Briggs. "I want the house to be a good place for touring bands to stay and play."
North Carolina's Know Nothing Party entertained an even smaller crowd than Cool Womb. With a prog-rock sensibility and an unparalleled drummer, the threesome bounced such immense sound off the walls, my ears were ringing more than when seeing a close-up Dinosaur Jr. set.
It was evident Know Nothing Party's drummer was the sun around which the band's sound orbited. A few songs in, a fourth guy stepped in with a saxophone, which gave the group's sound a funkiness that drew several people in from the cold and away from their Parliaments. Enter Brutal Juice's Craig Welch, Denton's lovable, brilliant, well-respected nut job. From throwing an iPod on the floor to grabbing and shaking people's heads, Welch did it all. He even messed with other band's gear as they performed, and stood three inches from their faces, staring them down as they performed.
New Hampshire's Gravies and the Main Dish Sauce are a three-piece electro-funk band on tour with Know Nothing Party. With the same drummer, the breakdown and setup was a breeze. Christmas lights hung around their gear, which included a Macbook, sax, guitar, drums and abundant pedals. Gravies' rhythm and funk loosened the stiff, chilly crowd up enough to break out in sporadic dance.
Rounding the night out was one of the tamer sets I have seen from Def Rain's Ashley Cromeens, formerly of Record Hop and Neeks. Her low, distant vocals put everyone in a trance, and the room was pitch black except for a laser light machine that projected crazy patterns on the wall. The conditions weren't ideal for Craig Welch, as he stumbled and fell on top of the touring bands' amps. In the end, however, we were all alright.