The Warlocks / Little Brazil
March 21, 2003
went to a rock concert last night.
and about 45 others, that is. And at least a dozen or so left before
it was over, maybe because it wasn't indie enough or avant gard
enough for their tastes. Whatever. It didn't matter, at least to
the remaining handful, lost in a fog of chocolate smoke and feedback.
One guy put it this way: It'll be remembered as a you-were-there
concert, like last year's Smog show witnessed by only about 75 of
expected to see the shortest set in history. Here was this 7-piece
band who had just made it to town, almost canceling because of the
Denver blizzard, looking out from the side of the stage before their
set at Little Brazil and the few dozen patrons who showed up. When
Little Brazil ended (and I'll get to their set in a few moments),
The Warlocks took to the stage like a crack military unit, putting
together their weapons of mass destruction as if they were being
timed. I figured they wanted to get on, get off and get the hell
out of there.
couldn't have been more wrong. The fog machine started about five
minutes before the band -- pushing smoke off the stage and into
the audience. Then on they came -- a guitarist and bassist stage
left (the guitarist, a feedback maestro), a tambourine girl/keyboardist
and another guitarist stage right, all surrounding their long-haired
guitarist/vocalist/leader, Bobby Hecksher, standing stage dead-center
in the dark, while behind them two drummers sat side-by-side working
like mechanics behind their sets. All's you could really see was
red fog, the silhouettes of drummers moving in unison, tambourine
girl's flared hips, the psychedelic grease lights on the ceiling
and the occasional strobe blazing from behind posed axemen.
you could hear was a solid wall of guitars pounding out songs based
on repeated, simple riffs that built over the course of five to
10 minutes per. Consider them a mix of Velvet Underground, My Bloody
Valentine, Spiritualized, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mercury Rev and
your favorite stoner rock band all rolled up in into one king-kong
sized sound, playing as if they were in front of a sold-out crowd
at Hammersmith Odeon instead of on a plywood stage in the basement
of a South Omaha dancehall for a few dozen onlookers who became
fanatics before they were through.
set lasted until 1 a.m., then the band came back on stage and played
a two-song encore, with Hecksher looking genuinely touched by the
crowd response. Two rocker girls added to the festivities, one yelling,
"Play one more song and no one gets hurt." When the lights
came up, I was a bit dazed, and stumbled around asking people if
I just saw what I think I just saw. Judging by the stoned glances,
everyone was a little bit freaked by the whole thing. These guys
can't do this every night -- it would kill them.
can see why Interpol has chosen The Warlocks to open on two of their
tours. They're music is a perfect compliment to Interpol's almost
static-hum-minimalism no wave. It wasn't for everyone. You either
got into the throb or you didn't. I did. and for me, it was among
the best shows I've seen so far in a year that, only three months'
old, has been filled with great shows.
for Little Brazil -- I got there late, thanks to the Maryland Terrapins.
But I saw the last three songs, which were enough for me to declare
Landon Hedges and Co. to be one of the best upcoming pop-punk-emo
bands now going. The music was pure bash and crash, but Hedges knows
his melodies, both on guitar and in his angry-little-man vocals.
When is their next show?
Posted March 22, 2003. Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights
When the lights came up, I was a bit dazed, and stumbled
around asking people if I just saw what I think I just saw.