The Moon Sounds Records Showcase with Bloody Knives, Dead Leaf Echo, Nightmare Air, Paper Saints, and Mercury Rocket at Club Dada, March 13, 2017
Given the weather lately, the evening of March 13 was uncharacteristically cold as the wind whipped through Club Dada with its door open. Many of the bands were gathering inside, having arrived around 6:30, toting gear and greeting old friends. The festivities were to begin at 8:00pm and wouldn’t wind up until after 2am. Five bands with shoegaze and post-punk elements, the night went long but it was well worth every note. I have to mention that this night was put together by the owner of Moon Sounds Records, Jacque, which all our readers should be familiar with by now. I present below reviews on each band in chronological order as they occurred throughout the night.
Mercury Rocket is one of the two local Dallas bands that played and also has a cassette release on Moon Sounds Records. The band consists of Ben Fleming (guitar, vox), Graham Brotherton (drums), Daly Truble (guitar, vox), and Lina XO (Bass). They present a blue rock infused shoegaze feel. The band played five songs, with a few coming from their Mindbenders cassette.
Second Sight (Mindbenders)
Something the Way I Feel (new)
Ghost IV (Mindbenders)
Syd ’67 (new)
Hold on to Your Dreams (new)
Mercury Rocket put on a great show with their brand of noise rock, reverb drenched vocals, and slinky bass-lines. They are definitely a shoegaze band to watch for as they prep more music for the coming year. It was a brief set that wet the whistle and, I think, peaked people’s interests in what they have coming next in terms of a release.
Paper Saints is another local Dallas act that is more in the post-punk vein rather than shoegaze. Paper Saints consists of Lysandra Chapman (vox, keys), Kevin Chapman (guitar), Kevin Trevino (drums), Brandie Dawson (bass, vox), Leila Wright (keys), and Tiffany Byrd (guitar). Their set consisted of six post-rock, electronica laden tracks that were moody and had a definite 80’s post-punk vibe. They remind me of a mixture of Dirty on Purpose and early 80’s stripped down electronica. Here was their set:
Of the Fearful and Guarded
They have yet to have a full release, but you can listen to some of the demos on their bandcamp. I prefer the track “Sleeperkill”, which was also wonderful live. If you are in the Dallas area and have a chance to see them, do so.
Nightmare Air hails from sunny Los Angeles and consists of Swaan Miller, Dave Dupuis, and Jimmy Lucido. They put on an incredible show and, quite frankly, I’m surprised they aren’t headlining their own tour. In a truly just world, it would definitely be the case. Their debut album, High in the Lasers, is one of my favorites and I was anxious to see how they sounded live. Along with the normal members, Nightmare Air was joined by keyboardist Liza Stegall as a touring keyboardist. Their set was phenomenal. Miller’s bass work is epic and her command of the audience brilliant. Lucido is the real deal: a consummate drummer with all the right emotive accents if I’ve ever heard one. Dupuis, well, what’s there to say about Dave? The man bleeds charisma and his stage presence is off the charts. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an incredible guitarist. Here’s the set list:
Way We Fall (new)
Who’s Your Lover (new)
Sweet Arrows (new)
Escape (High in the Lasers)
Dark Vice (new)
Strange Things (new)
Icy Daggers (High in the Lasers)
Sun Behind the Rocks (High in the Lasers)
The set is primarily new tracks and they were brilliant. Of course, “Who’s Your Lover” was the track previewed in their tour promo and it’s addictive as is the rest of the new material. There are bands on this planet that I call “Bucket List Bands”. They are the bands you must see live before you die and, frankly, you need to put Nightmare Air on that list if you haven’t already.
Dead Leaf Echo
I’m one of the lucky folks who has gotten to see Dead Leaf Echo more than once outside of their home area or New York. If you want a band to blow your face off (metaphorically of course), this is it. The band consists of LG, Ana B., Kevin K., and Steve S. They bring a brand of shoegaze that is laced with a post-punk swagger. Steve always brings this Hooky style bass work over Kevin’s incredible percussion. All of this undergirds Ana and LG’s brilliant guitar work and vocals. The dynamic guitar duo can really get a crowd going and LG’s swagger really is contagious as he draws in the crowd. Here’s the set:
Memorytraces (Thought & Language)
Tear the Heart in Two (new)
Strawberry Skin (Strawberry Skin 7”)
Another Breath, Another Sigh (new)
It’s Starting to Happen (new)
They played a number of new tracks which, I hope, is a sign that an imminent new album is going to drop. Also, and I hate to do this to you, but Dead Leaf Echo is another band you must put on your bucket list. If you have a chance to see them live, do so without hesitation!
Preston Maddox, Jake McCown, and Jack Ohara Harris form the trio that is Bloody Knives. The band’s sound is a combination of early industrial, post-punk, goth, shoegaze, and punk thrown into a giant blender and then thrown into your face with violent velocity. Live, this band is incredible, with Harris’ sauntering guitar action, McCown’s relentless percussion work, and Maddox’s almost dead pan vocals and driving, in your face bass. Maddox also controls the majority of the synths and industrial sounds that create deep beds for the rest of the band to play over. Their set was an epic tour de force:
Reflection Lines (I Will Cut Your Heart out for This)
Buried Alive (I Will Cut Your Heart out for This)
Possession Escape (new)
The Descent (The Descent 7”)
Black Hole (I Will Cut Your Heart out for This)
Let Me Out (Rock Back for Japan Compilation)
Ok, now I’m going to repeat myself. Bloody Knives is a bucket list band as well. Go see them as soon as you can live. They put on an incredible show and should not be missed!
The evening at Club Dada was so good. Two local bands I had yet to hear before and three bands that should be seen by all music lovers. For those of you who were in or near Dallas on the 13th and didn’t show, it was entirely your loss. This was one hell of a gig!