Westword Music Showcase reviewed: Bannock Street Garage

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Aaron Thackeray
Red Stinger ignited the party at the Bannock Street Garage.

See more photos from the Bannock Street Garage at westword.com/slideshow.

Red Stinger, 12 p.m.
One of the defining characteristics of punk is guys who love the people in the room exactly as much or more than they hate the System. No one who played Saturday at the garage embodied this more than Red Stinger. There was no getting in if you were underage, except if you were in the band. So Red Stinger gave a real devotee who wasn't 21 yet a mic and had him join them onstage. He smiled through the whole set, clutching nervously at his t-shirt. That's rock and roll, people.

Frontman Timmy and company left it all on the stage. Timmy became a father some twelve hours before the start of the show, but he was up there anyway, nearly toppling over as he screamed nasty words (see: a delightful little number called "Jizz Mustache"). Red Stinger lurched around the stage for forty-five minutes, setting the tone for a stage that would not relent at any point over the next seven hours. Seriously, these guys made Built To Spill look like they were in a coma.

Verdict: It's never easy to play a noon set for a quiet crowd, and Red Stinger deserves credit for playing like it was midnight in a packed house. And while they're not exactly exploring a new frontier, there are some pretty melodies hidden under all that aggression.

Outta Controllers, 1 p.m.
Joe Kadingo has a drum set with seven (seven!) cymbals, including the most inexplicable, feeble instrument in music, the splash cymbal. That's not punk rock at all. They seem a little skeptical of the punk label themselves, making a couple somewhat ironic references to their place on the ballot and playing some straight-up metal. But they do have the tight jeans and scrappy demeanor down. As for chops, wow can these guys play a lot of notes quickly. After maybe the fourth song, the lead singer/guitarist Parker Clark Whitton said, "Still in tune. Must not be playing it right." Don't worry -- he managed to get there by the end of a set that included a blistering rendition of "Hot for Teacher."

Verdict: Outta Controllers put on a veteran show with a clear grasp of their sound, but they seemed fairly uninspired to me. Maybe it was just the hangover from the show they played the night before.

Primasonic, 2 p.m.
Sin, the short singer in the red shirt and red boots took big, stumbling steps between the bassist, Clyde, and guitarist, Kurt, the latter of whom was an incredible presence: wire-rimmed glasses, a black kilt and boots and easily 6-foot-5. The singer untied his tie then took it off completely, and somewhere in between the anthematic new stuff and the Ramones-esque old, there was beer and sweat and the cleanest punk sound of the day. Don't worry -- I mean clean in a dirty way.

Verdict: Sold: I'll be buying the new album in early July. Not the best live performance of the day, but they've got the best tunes for sure.

Boldtype, 3 p.m.

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Aaron Thackeray

I can barely read my notes from this set. The crowd (doesn't take too many people to constitute a crowd in the cramped Garage) was alive and surging at this point, and Boldtype's presence was such a rush that I was actually writing faster. There were only five people on stage but it seemed like ten. People were shouting along, a microphone was handed around the crowd, the singer Mike Sweet climbed into the damn rafters and swung from an I-beam. One of the more exhilarating shows I've ever seen. And the truly astounding thing is I didn't even like the music. I'm sure their fans will object, but it sounded an awful lot like emo for post-teens. Mostly it's the simpering vocal melodies that get to me.

Verdict: Best show at the garage all day, even with some truly cringe-worthy musical tendencies.

No Plot Kill, 4 p.m.
The heaviest band at Bannock street mostly stared straight ahead and ripped the sort of riffs out of their instruments that make you look again and wonder how that hulking sound can come out of something as puny as that little electric guitar. At one point they were playing faster than I thought human hands could move and then they went faster. Put your fist in the air and hail satan.

Verdict: I'm too much of a pansy to really like this kind of music, but they do it very well.

Reno Divorce, 5 p.m.

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Aaron Thackeray

This is a professional, road-tested band, no doubt. They're spending the rest of the summer on tour in Europe, and they act like a band that's been there before. Lead singer Brent Loveday is champion of the day for playing with a recently broken foot and for taking a mic to the chin early in the set and bleeding his way through the rest of it. That's a healthy amount of heart, and there's no doubt that Reno's got it in spades. Their one-by-one, "and-on-the-drums" introductions, one of the few of the day and normally an unwanted indulgence, were something like moving for their earnestness. As for the crowd, you could barely breathe that place was so hot and packed.

Verdict: The songs are pretty run-of-the-mill if you ask me, but they're definitely catchy and this band can entertain the crap out of a black-clad mob.

Lyin' Bitch & The Restraining Orders, 6 p.m.
This was the only truly intimidating band of the day. Partly because of the bassist, who is straight out of Lord of the Rings, partly because of the fact that they have a freakin' harmonica player (it sounds like a demon train whistle in this context), partly because there's a big chunk missing out of their ride cymbal, but mostly because of the lead singer, who goes by Shank Whitey. He's short and pale and wide-eyed and is completely safe-looking physically, except for the ragged, dyed, self-made Mohawk. But there's just something about him that is genuinely unsettling.

Verdict: My brain was just completely sludge by this point so I'm afraid I won't give these guys a fair shake. They seem punk rock enough to not care what I think anyway, but I left their set mostly just feeling like I needed a shower.


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