Last Night: Sundress, Dove Hunter at The Double Wide

Sundress, Dove Hunter, Chris Catalena
Double Wide
August 4, 2011

Better than: Vice's Dos and Don'ts

To be clear: Last night's show at The Double Wide, despite boasting The Black Angels' name in bold print, wasn't a Black Angels show. It was a show "curated" by The Black Angels, the fine print for on the show fliers explained, but, no, the Austin psych outfit wasn't even present.

But various reps for VitaminWater and Vice magazine were. And where Vice goes, so do the hipsters. Indeed, it was an even hipster-er crowd than usual at the Doube Wide last night, hanging out and smoking cigarettes on the patio, eating free Zini's pizza slices from boxes scattered throughout the bar and, in the venue, enjoying the sounds of bands that enjoy at least a tangential similarity or two to the Black Angels.

The crowds were sparse for opening act Chris Catalena, an Austin singer-songwriter who collaborates with some Black Angels members on various side projects, and his somber acoustic guitar offerings.

Things picked up considerably, though, for the suddenly again quite-active Dove Hunter. The band, however, was a smidge off. Their groove-laden, intricate-yet-jangly, roots-heavy offerings -- all new, unreleased material -- had fleeting moments of brilliance, when everything came together and the band seemed on the same page. Unfortunately, for the most part, the band rarely was on the same page on this night, a missed note in an arpeggio here and there from one member leaving the remaining three struggling to settle back in with the timing.

This wasn't, however, a problem for the ever-impressive Denton upstart Sundress, whose swirling soundscapes seemed to strike a particular chord with the audience on this night. Playing before the biggest crowds of the night and a near-full venue (impressive for a Denton band playing Dallas on a Thursday), the band's newer Radiohead-influenced material, mostly from its soon-to-be-released, self-titled EP, seemed to engulf the entirety of the Double Wide, more successfully drawing the audience into their groove than Dove Hunter could just moments prior. Most surprising, however, were the subtle crescendos scattered throughout the band's material, which a couple different times, almost found this hipper-than-thou, crossed-arms audience erupting into full-on fist-pump mode.

Alas, enthusiastic cheers would have to do for the band on this night. And, one thinks, that was plenty -- especially when coupled with the fact that, at this performance, this already quite-popular-in-Denton band finally received the proper introduction to Dallas audiences that it had been seeking out for some time.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
Sundress and Dove Hunter are two acts from the region that I very much consistently enjoy. Which probably explains why I saw so many issues with Dove Hunter's set. And why I probably saw such greatness in Sundress'.

Random Note: Vice cameras were around, interviewing the bands throughout the night for an upcoming web special. Keep an eye out for that.

By The Way: Sundress expects to release another full-length in the next few months.

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