"A foreign coin" was the vibe in the air after leaving Jake’s Backroom in Lubbock a few weeks ago. Finding a coin from another county is unexpected and exciting, even though you can't use it. Local shows are usually pretty cool. Friends of the band members came out to sing along with their buddies and everyone was excited to see each other. This one was no exception with a killer four-band lineup. Featuring the sweetness of Jeune, the thumpiness of Tigers, some jumpy fuzz with Bleach Kings, and finally Indego capping the night off with whatever the hell they wanted to do.
Things kicked off with a newer band, Jeune, who were struttin’ their stuff for the first time with this being their live show debut. You can tell they’ve been putting in the work getting ready to play for a crowd. The set began with “Park In The Ocean” with the guitar leads really setting the melancholy tone to allow the soft vocals to glide on through. The next two songs keep in the same vibe with tight but relaxed drums and bass lines keeping the arrangements in check, and lordy that bass guitar tone sure sounded excellent. “Make Time” was up next and it’s such a dreamy little song. The band released a very tasteful lyric video for it not long before the show and it was very pleasant hearing it live after becoming familiar with it the week prior. There are moments in the set when there is just a touch of backing vocals and I really wish there were more of those little moments as the pair of vocals really complimented each other. Their last song was called “Memory.” This one seemed like it was the band’s favorite one to play. The drums really shined on this one, getting hit a bit harder. The band's heads were bobbing a little lower. The crowd’s hips were swaying a bit more. Their set ended happier and more uplifting than it began, that’s for sure.
When Tigers set their stage you couldn’t help but notice the large toms-toms off to the side and it was the first time I had seen a local band use auxiliary drums in a live setting. It was exciting. Then Cory Ames strapped on a Flying V, which excited me even more. Starting off with “Dallas Streets,” your attention is instantly pulled towards the stage and a grin is slapped on your face just hearing the first strums of the energetic guitar. The next couple songs are totally taken charge by the hard hitting bass guitar; grooving and smoothing out those low end edges. The middle of the set is taken on by “Feel It,” that had a great sing-along melody that made you just lift your chin up and sing the lyrics, “It’s all love,” and it really was all love. “Little Rituals” was their most vibrant song of the night. The auxiliary drums pounding away at the sixteenth notes on top of the kit’s quarters. So catchy and bouncy enough to make you want to go dance on a southwestern pier at sunset. Tigers finished out two more songs with some interesting guitar work and muted bass lines that kept you wondering what was going to happen next as we were built up to a subtle finale.
You wouldn’t expect a surf punk sound out of West Texas, so it’s very nice to be surprised by Bleach Kings whenever you can get a chance to catch them on stage. Kicking off fast and loud with “Freak Wave,” it’s easy to understand why the floor opened up into a circle pit so quickly. This was the set the crowd showed the most movement during. Song number four on the set was “Jackie.” It was previously called “Dreams,” and is most likely still around on Soundcloud to check out, but was renamed after a cute dog I got to meet on a Zoom call once. It crooned it’s way, start to finish, with poppy melodies that could still fit into the grungiest of punk clubs. “Evil Job” was released on streaming platforms by the band shortly before this show as a single, and being the slowest song Bleach Kings played, you were given a little break from jumping around and were allowed to pay attention to what is being sung about here. The drums never quit in the entire set. Smashing those crashes on one and three, charging the way for the lead guitar to give commands to the rest of the band while the bass kept things fast and steady with some groovy licks.
The final band, Indego, was up next, and boy did the area right against the stage fill up quickly. It was great to see a handful of members from other local bands be there to cheer on their boys. They get started with “Get Well” and you know you’re in for a treat for the next hour. Every guitar player on stage that night was awesome, just these guys had perfected their ability to play off each other while not outshining anyone else. Not long into their stage time, frontman, Dan, takes a break to have everyone sing Happy Birthday to one of his, alleged, well-endowed pals in the crowd; which is always fun. They released a great album in 2019 called Sick Together, of which about half their setlist came from. We got treated with “Picking Away” early on and twenty minutes later we landed on the title track, “Sick Together” which consisted of some really great guitar symmetry along with their heaviest outro of the night. “Minus The Squid” and “Indifference” were lush with interesting chords and strong melodies. After their last song, the crowd needed one more, so Indego (thankfully) stuck around to perform “Wandering Ghost,” my personal favorite song from them. The encore started off with quieter, yet fancy fretwork from the guitars and probably the busiest bass lines on display that night. The strings danced on top of the quirky ghost notes from the snare drum with great companionship before smashing their way into and back out of the hard-hitting chorus making it such a pleasure to see performed live.