Sunday, June 22, 2008

Xu Xu Fang and The Human Value at the Viper Room

The fog rolled into the Viper Room as Xu Xu Fang was celebrating the release of their album The Mourning Son. The Viper Room was closed for a few weeks for renovation but only had some subtle differences to the inside decor as it largely retained its darkened vibe. The future of Indie 103.1 Monday's Check One..Two Viper Room shows seems to be up in the air as a new booker has been hired. They have some big shoes to fill as I have witnessed many amazing line ups at the Viper Room.

The Sagittarians

There was something familiar about The Sagittarians that I just couldn't put my finger on. A trio of musicians had gathered on stage led by Neil Busch (Keyboards/Vocals) who plotted through a handful of brooding piano riffs. I would later uncover that Neil used to play bass in And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead. The Sagittarians would fall on the polar opposite of his prior band with references to older bands as The Doors and the cabaret element of The Dresden Dolls. The new shroud of the Viper Room complimented the darkness of their accompanying tunes very well. I didn't see any news of a full length album but there are quite a few tracks on their Myspace page.

Xu Xu Fang

Xu Xu Fang seemed right at home on stage at the Henry Fonda when they opened for Swervedriver. The Viper Room stage could barely contain the members of Xu Xu Fang but the smaller stage meant a greater effect for the fog machines as the fog crept across the stage. It was so foggy that I was unable to get any pictures of Bobby Tamkin (Drums) who is the engine in the muscle car that is Xu Xu Fang. The Xu Xu Fang immersed the crowd in sound with a fuzz wash of "Sweeten The Ride". The trio of guitarists continued to lay the foundation by conjuring up the walls of psychedelic drone for "The Mourning Son". The lighting dimmed after a few songs as the Fang really found their groove and I found myself lost in a swirl of noise. One of the many highlights of the set was the incorporation of a Z. Vex probe that was mesmerizing and had me green with gear envy. "These Days" was another hypnotic jam that slowly navigated through a maze of haze. I anxiously await the next Xu Xu Fang experience.

The Human Value

The fog had quickly lifted as the hurricane trio known as The Human Value took to the stage. The Human Value impressed me a few months ago when they closed out Spaceland during The Pity Party Residency. The Human Value should be releasing their album Push & Pull domestically and played a large portion of material from the album. Hiram Fleites (Guitars) was all over the stage rocking out on his Epiphone guitar covering a wide sonic spectrum by splitting his signal. Turu (Vocals) was completely unhinged from the first note immediately captivating your attention. "Hold Of Me" had winding guitar riff that was immediately dragged in fuzz as Turu would grab a drumstick and start tapping on any object in her path along with the beat. The swirling phaser action of "Pleasant Town" was hypnotic as Turu would end up writhing on the floor while singing. The Human Value will be playing the Prospector on June 24h as well as the Beauty Bar in San Diego on July 16th with the Pity Party.

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