Monday night I drove over to The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, which is this dingy retro kinda club over by some Phoenix grit. Yes, Phoenix has grit, quite a lot. It was a nice surprise. The Rhythm Room bears a striking resemblance to the basement of Leutner Hall at college, of which I have some fond memories. Not as pretty as The Beachland Ballroom, but it does have a regular BBQ schedule and a shaded patio.
So, the music. Starting us off was Treasure Mammal (warning, these links goes to myspace).
Oh, Treasure Mammal. How can I describe you? It was like watching my pompous ex-neighbor play his "music" which is more like sound collages of screechy electronic sounds and rapid-fire beats. However, Treasure Mammal performed clad in a black lycra bodysuit with a small, strategically placed, florescent green oval. And sometimes a mask.
He had to take the mask off sometimes to see what he was doing and to perform the singing/spoken word part of his show, which consisted of a lot of ranting, howling, and saying "motherfucker" in praise of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.
And sometimes yipping like a small dog being kicked.
I sat dumbfounded and worried. Thankfully, things got better.
The Diagonals are good--the lead singer has annoying patter, but the music is quite good. Garagey rock beats and quirky lyrics, although what is up with the image stream that has nothing to do with anything? They remind me of Cake without a trumpet.
The Octopus Project though--they have the whole package. Excellent pounding punky but tuneful instrumentals that had everyone in the club headbanging and dancing. The energy was amazing. It's a show experience that's like having sex in a good exhausting, happy fun way. They play along with the image show behind them in excellent timing. They have a cohesive visual image, the guitarist mc keeps great control, and everyone is having fun. The music flows over you and plays with different parts of your brain and forces you to pay attention--it's like a brain stimulation machine that makes you smarter. After the set, you will do calculus! If I were in Austin, I'd have a party just to book them to play. Highly recommended.