Mustachioed duo BOOM! started the night with a polished set of speed-psych rock, vibing off each other and cruising through a quick session on stage. With each track shifting gears more often than an over-caffeinated truck driver, BOOM! left little time for the crowd to even bob their head before moving on to the next jam. Clearly led by the drummer’s fast and precise slams, BOOM! benefit from a symbiotic drum-to-guitar relationship as opposed to purely guitar-driven punk. BOOM! could definitely benefit from expanding their ideas on album, as each song felt like a vignette of something yearning to be expanded.
Next up was Mean Jeans, whose three piece ensemble kicked out familiar and awesome tunes, finally energizing the crowd and performing the best set of the night. I’ve always thought it’s the sign of a great band when their live performance outshines their recordings, and Mean Jeans took their best songs to a whole new level in person. As the first crowdsurfer took to people’s shoulders, fans sung along to “Let’s Pogo B4 You Gogo” and “Slime Time.” “We’ve only got two love songs,” Mean Jeans lead singer/guitarist pointed out, “but we’re trying to write that song. We want to get on the TV.” When he screamed the name of the track into the mic before the drummer counted it off, the entire venue was theirs. Mean Jeans might not be ready for the small screen, but they certainly know how to kick out stellar Ramones-esque garage rock.
White Fang, whose new record, Grateful To Shred, was the toast of the evening, commanded an energy on stage with both its visual exhibitionism and often improvised tunes. Their house party attitude certainly shined, as the guitarist played two songs from the back of the venue, the lead singer jumped into the crowd, and the bassist began the set in only his boxers, eventually playing half the set in his birthday suit. They’re raucous, loud, and messy, but never in a scary way. “Our set was over like ten minutes ago” the lead singer said as the band members switched positions and screamed at each other, with guitarist and drummer in the crowd with the mic, singer on drums, and bassist in the buff kicking out a solid rhythm. As White Fang’s set devolved from album cuts into straight-up fooling around, the band’s talent was finally on display. Creative license at its finest, White Fang did as they pleased, jamming and creating songs on the fly, proving that they absolutely belong in psych-rock’s current revival.
The entire show felt like a reunion of sorts, and with BOOM!, Mean Jeans, and White Fang all sharing a home on Gnar Tapes it sort of was, but the entire show gave off the vibe of one big inside joke I didn’t get. White Fang’s unabashed performance captured at least the eyes of the crowd, but for me it was Mean Jeans who shred their way into my heart.