By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In recent months, The Uptown Bums went from churning out catchy, yet sloppy garage pop to producing a more confident, streamlined brand of, well, technically speaking, kitchen punk. And the band's performances, as well as recent recordings, are better for the change.
Once The Uptown Bums wrapped up its tour of the Midwest back in January, drummer Troy Tabner and bassist Bryan Hancock decided the time had come to finally leave Arlington for Denton. Since the move, Hancock says, "Getting us all together to practice is much more convenient."
After all, for the last year and a half, the band had been holding its practices in Denton. First, it did so in a shared rehearsal space at Rubber Gloves, then, for the last several months, in the kitchen of a house rented by guitarists Stephen Svacina and Casey Casstevens. For Tabner, who runs the sound at Rubber Gloves several nights a week, the move meant a lot less time commuting and more time—and flexibility—for practicing.
"Before, if I wanted to spend some time practicing on my drums, it was like an hour drive from Arlington to Denton," Tabner says. "Now I can walk or bike to the house."
And, Casstevens says, the band's time together is more fruitful because "practices are easier, and we don't have to spend as much time tweaking things."
But the band's new home is more than just a practice space for the band. After Svacina and Casstevens moved into the bungalow known as 818 House in July 2008, they started putting on house shows and quickly became a linchpin in Denton's DIY scene.
"Once touring bands know you have a place to hold shows for bands that might not be right for Rubber Gloves or Andy's, they'll spread the word," Svacina says. Like last March, before SXSW, when Svacina says he was literally getting dozens of messages a day from bands. "The shows at the house are always more stressful [than traditional venues], but they're always the most fun."
Thursday night at Rubber Gloves might be an exception, though, when the band opens for Tel Aviv's Monotonix—the manic trio that definitely received more post-NX35 buzz than any other touring act after the early March weeklong fest. But opening for a buzz band like Monotonix is nothing new for The Uptown Bums, who opened for Vampire Weekend at Gloves in '07, well before anyone gave a fuck about an Oxford comma. Still, the band's looking forward to this show—as are many in the college town.
"I've heard they're crazy," Casstevens says. "And I'm really excited to see how much they're gonna fuck up Rubber Gloves." —Daniel Rodrigue