Costumes and cool music at The Nugget
If you’ve been reading this page lately, you already know that I’m a big fan of what those folks at the Underground Music Society are doing. Organizing shows that people actually want to go to, keeping musicians on campus in touch, and generall
y being chill and fun folks. What’s not to like? So naturally, when I realized they were putting on a Halloween show at the Nugget last Thursday, I was excited and curious to see if they could consistently deliver new and interesting line-ups to play for the good folks at CSULB without reverting to the same couple bands over and over again.
I already knew of the synth-pop duo Kids Without Instruments, who won the Union Songwriting contest last year, and Tubby Boots, who I had seen a few months ago at the Smell in downtown LA. But The Doggerels and Bad Viiibes were complete unknowns to me, so I was excited to see what they had to offer.
Tubby Boots opened up the show with their soulful college rock sound. A dash of punk, some alt rock and plenty of influence from The Pixies and Sonic Youth were evident in their sound. Although they aren’t the type of band that gets you up and dancing, it’s definitely a great experience to see them live and experience their music and sort of understated energy. In complete contrast were The Doggerels. Bluesy to an absurd extreme, with music that packs a punch. I couldn’t stop tapping my foot the whole way through. Their vocalist could really belt out the blues and her guitar work had a special quality, a sort of rattlesnake sound going on. No it wasn’t in disrepair, she left a tambourine on her amp to give every chord she strummed a rough and rattling quality that I absolutely loved.
Kids Without Instruments played their trademark danceable synth pop that they are known for. Unfortunately, they stood out like a sore thumb among a more rock-oriented set-list and this seemed to affect the energy they were able to pull from the crowd. Following The Doggerels was rough simply because it was just such a change of pace, from high energy blues rock to a somewhat soft and sweet New Wave revival type sound. I consider myself a fan but I just couldn’t get into them this time around.
And then finally, we got some straight up punk music going in the Nugget with Bad Viiibes. Yes, the extra letters are intentional. They probably got one of the best audience responses of the night, with half a dozen people getting up in front of the stage and pogoing. Remember, this was at the end of the night when people were slowly starting to exit the Nugget and head home. Nothing struck me as distinctive about their style but they were loud, they had attitude and they got people moving. I’ve got respect for a band that can do that. Overall, seeing the second official UMS show makes it apparent that they have done their homework. They’re not relying completely upon the bands of the core members of the club, they’re able to get alumni bands like Tubby Boots and virtual unknowns on this campus like The Doggerels alike out here and expose the campus community to some cool tunes. And personally, I think that’s a pretty noble goal and they’re pursuing it in the best possible way.