Mid January brought the first Friday the 13th of 2012. The city: Columbia, MO. The weather is cold and the area is recovering from a winter storm that, while normal in past years, seems in anomaly in an abnormally dry winter. Like this one has been so far. The semester is starting up at the area colleges. Thus, though not everyone has come back yet, there is an energy that has people coming out to see live music. Tonight, we look at this show at Mojo’s.
New local band The Spit was opening the show tonight. This new band (this was their fifth show) set things into motion via a melodic, rough around the edges take on punk rock with buzzsaw guitars and songs that are direct and to the point. This quintet takes a high energy approach in these odes to life, communication, and death that comes through in the music and grabs your attention in the process. At only six songs, they focused on delivering the goods and gave the crowd a hard punk appetizer for the rest of the night. While the music of The Spit isn’t for everybody, people wanting a little roughness and honesty in their punk will do well to see them play live.
I’d heard about Jack Buck through word of mouth and little bits of information gleaned online, but still hadn’t heard them yet, so this would be a surprise. After a false start/setup, the band returned shortly thereafter and took things into a somewhat different aural direction. This St. Louis quartet plays noise leaning metal built on effect tweaked guitars, the occasional sample, and spiderwebs of notes that weave through their songs. Hard, sometimes noisy, but with hints of atmospherics, they walk a fine line between metal, indie, and even some prog rock as the tension within often builds into moments of feedback and collision without losing the elements of melody in their sound. While Jack Buck’s sound does have similarities to some modern metal, their use of it as a jumping off point helps create heavy, ambient rock that sometimes knows more than it lets on. Need to check out their single.
I admit it had been a number of years since I’d last seen Coward play live so I was wondering what to expect. This quartet laid down an all instrumental set that was part dual drummer filled and keyboard driven tunes that almost border on jazz funk, part a guitar shred fueled fusion of hard rock, indie, and jazz that even could get close to progressive rock as much as anything metal related. It was an interesting match sonically as the subdued melded with harder more fiery pieces in a way that didn’t clash as much as some people might think. In the past I’d had a hard time trying to figure Coward out, but I now realize that their fusion of different musical styles makes them almost as a jazz band as they explore both rock and soul textures, though even this is somewhat of a misnomer. This was the tightest I’d ever seen them and they have piqued my curiosity towards any future plans they have.
Then it was over. As people slowly ventured out into the cold and light snow covered ground, plans were made and people bought merch. In a few days the semester would start at Mizzou and things would adjust back to a sense of quasi-normal – at least normal for Como. After a slow month in December, it was good to see some action going down in this town.