Tijuana and some garage bands

Summer is officially over and so it means I may be back on the internet a bit more.  Only a few more beach days this year.

I hadn’t been to Tijuana for years, but I agreed to accompany a friend there to check out my other friend’s band that were playing at a club just off Revolucion.  Tijuana garage rock night!

I only caught three bands- one was a SoCal Sublime style band.  Not really my cup of tea but whatever.  The next two were garage rock bands.  I’m not going to mention names just in case I end up on a bill with them someday and have to explain myself.

A lot of times going to shows feels like work to me because I’m analyzing what the other bands are doing.  The two garage bands were very similar- both going for the same Thee Oh Sees style garage punk.  One was a three piece, the other a two piece.  Full disclosure- one of my friends is in one of the bands.  Still, a few observations:

I previously mocked what I call The Beatle Strap Length– nipple high guitar playing- but it looks like I am officially old because that’s what the kids are doing.  I can’t say that it’s right or wrong, it’s just different and something I will most likely not adopt.  I first saw it on the Black Lips, but it looks like nearly everyone is doing it now


I’ve always maintained that doing a band with only one vocalist is ill-advised.  I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that it’s hard.  Very, very hard.  The two piece had a drummer who could sing and do harmonies.  That is huge.  One of my friends once said that people remembered harmonies most.  I think he may be right.  But even if you just have two people singing the melody, that’s better.  There’s just no reason to have anyone in the band who can’t sing unless they are a drummer or someone with some extraordinary talent.  Or if they plan an instrument that precludes singing, like saxophone. So anyway, I give it to the two-piece for having two singers.

On the subject of vocals I’m going to really go all old man here for a moment.  A lot of bands need to tone down the echo effect.  I know it can sound really cool, but here’s the secret.

Glenn Danzig is singing slowly.  This is the secret.  Some of these bands are shouting through very densely written songs and the words pile on top of each other until it doesn’t sound cool and menacing anymore.  It just sounds like blah blah blah blah yi yi yi yi.

Again, Jay Reatard is singing slowly.  And it’s not overdone.  There’s just enough to give it an evil edge.

To give another example- here’s where he’s overdoing it

Maybe the kids just don’t care that much about vocals.  But after a while it’s just a gimmick and it gets old.

I also give it to the two piece for breaking up their set with slow and fast songs.  I know it’s not just because I’m old.  That’s important to do.

The guitar player in the three piece had a telecaster.  I don’t get why tele’s don’t get more respect as a rock and roll guitar, because they sound awesome.  Since I just now took a break for like a half hour while listening to Guitar Wolf and Thee Michelle Gun Elephant, I’ll use that as a segue- this song has some of my favorite guitar playing ever, and it’s on a tele

That didn’t have much to do with anything.  I feel like I should say more about TJ, but it was mostly uneventful, other than the flying roaches.



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