By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
"We're from Denton fucking Texas!" Skin Trade lead singer Mike Melendi shouted between songs. "Not Dallas!" In a way, this shout was a call to arms for the Denton showcase, making sure everyone in attendance knew that the best Dallas concert of the week was courtesy of little D and, more specifically, the Skin fucking Trade. Melendi's guitarplay was the star of the night, as he condensed three or four classic garage rock songs--and a pinch of early '90s hard rock--into every head-whipping number. In particular, he shined on "Everyone" when he set his effects pedals to 11 and cranked out walls of distorted, rhythmic noise that made Nirvana's "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" sound like Wal-Mart fare in comparison. Couple that with a tight rhythm section (John Clardy banged his drums like he was Animal from the Muppets, for chrissakes) and you're looking at a serious threat to The Strange Boys' title of the best garage-influenced band in town.
Really, the only act that could've followed such a striking set was Record Hop. The quartet gets tighter and tighter at every concert, with Scott Porter's guitars adding more and more texture, John McInpire's drum parts becoming more complex and Ashley Cromeens' presence growing more monstrous. New, fanatic songs like "Clique" proved that this growth isn't slowing anytime soon either. Matador, Merge, Touch and Go--are you paying attention?
Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't paying attention once Record Hop finished, and most people left before Birth To Burial's CD release set. Shame, really, because the trio's bass-heavy take on '80s post-punk acts like Fugazi, Naked Raygun and Mission of Burma was certainly on par with the rest of the night's quality. Sorry to say Rob Black's bass was set too loud and drowned out Pat Ferguson's smart, restrained guitar parts, but the songs that survived the bad sound had the tiny, leftover crowd screaming for encores.
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