Last night's Locals Only! show at Jack Daniel's Saloon, put on by, well, us, showcased a couple of up-and-coming Denton bands that managed to put on an impressive show in spite of the weeknight crowd. Luckily, Sundress and Final Club have the chops and charisma to manage just fine in such a setting.
Final Club haven't been around for long, but their sound is a total throwback, nodding at both old-school punk rock and grunge noise a la Sonic Youth. Their singer's Black Francis-meets-Johnny Rotten screech is perfectly suited to punk rock. This was their new bass player's first gig, and he managed admirably, taking cues from the capable drummer, who hit so hard that he splintered his sticks, sending wood chips flying during the set. The heavily distorted guitars veered into sloppy territory at times, but they held it together and managed to keep the energy level up.
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Fellow Dentonites Sundress are so adorable, it's easy to dismiss them as pretty boys -- that is, until they begin playing. Their sound is akin to OK Computer-era Radiohead, complete with full-blown reverb effects on both vocals and guitar. Singer Ryan McAdams has some serious range, vociferously soaring above guitarist Kennon Talley's reverberating licks. Sundress are an extremely cohesive unit. Their pacing was dead-on, and the band members stayed tight through tension breaks that explored the boundaries of tempo and time signature.
All in all, these two Denton acts put on a fantastic show, proving that they are forces to be reckoned with in the notoriously competitive North Texas music scene. Sundress are set to release their first album in August, and we will definitely be keeping an eye on their progress.
Random note: Two cute girls cut through the bar on their way home while Sundress was setting up; despite pleas from the singer to stay and watch the show, they kept on walking. Luckily, another group of girls showed up midway through the set; they looked doubtful at first, but soon began dancing and getting into the music. This is encouraging to bands that are made up of boys who like girls. I was happy that the adorable Sundress boys didn't just have to play to a bunch of hipster dudes and critics. Their cuteness deserves to be valued appropriately.