Review by Dorothy Parvaz
Photography by Michael LaRivière
No, holy shit, he's wearing a dress, and it ain't sexy neither. It's a sleeveless navy Sears catalogue special. By now you've figured out that this guy is Gilles Zolty, and he's got the whole room singing "Ahhm just a skeptical pig." Watta chorus. Watta room fulla chumps.
You order a drink. You look up. Now Zolty's got this guy on stage with him. Imagine a Woody Allen/Bill Gates splice wearing a sarong, a business shirt and dancing like a drug-glutted hippie at Folkfest, and you've got a clear picture of Zolty's buddy.
But just as you start to develop a thing taste for the guy, he ends his set. Bummer. Damn these impromptu appearances! The end of Zolty's performance signals the end of your out-of-body experience and you stop referring to yourself in the second person.
Next on the menu was Davíd Garza. The most notable thing about Garza's band was his drummer, Michael Hale. Oh mama, what a mighty fine drummer -- aggressive, but not a sound hog either. Speaking of hogs... these guys kind of sound Spacehoggy, minus vocals that work. That's the thing about Garza's band: everything sounds okay except his voice. He kind of sounds like Stevie Nicks' male counterpart, all quivering unmelodic.
His guitarist was a bit feedback-happy, but nonetheless dragged this cool, low, zooming sound out of his guitar -- too bad he couldn't do some cool trick with Garza's voice. This is an unfortunate thing, because, like I said before, the band itself sounds good and Garza himself has a fairly good rapport with the audience -- even if he is a bit pretentious:
"My name is Davíd Garza -- that's dah-VEED -- I'm Mexican, you fuckers," Garza said, somewhat good-naturedly, clearly having received some flack about what kind of self-respecting, red-blooded Texan would name his son Dah-veed, and not Jethro or Duke.
Okay, whatever, Dave.
Although it sure as hell wasn't my thing, Garza and his band played a tight set (dig that "Slave" song), and they weren't all that put out, despite the fact that their van was broken into a couple of hours before the show. Now that ain't right... they dragged their "skinny asses" all the way from Austin, Texas for this?
Some members of the audience seemed to be enjoying the show -- Soy Bomb (or his doppelganger) was doing his interpretive dance thing in the middle of the club. Hey, it's possible, I mean, Bob Dylan was playing just a few blocks away....
Veal went on with minimal fuss, a three-piece band that quite simply rocked. I'd given their Hot Loser CD a few listens before heading out to the show, and although I liked the disc, I really wasn't expecting much.
Goddam did they ever give me and my lame-assed low expectations a firm kick in the pants! "I was born a poor black child" sang Luke Doucet, and with that started us off on the feast that is Veal.
There's a feverish sort of charm to this band -- listening to them live is like that sweet moment when you wake up from a sweaty dream on a cool summer night. The band just draws you right in with these compelling songs about... Playing house? Girls? Beer? Two-headed boys? What?!?
Wait, dammit, you've been duped -- these songs aren't that deep. But it's too late, because you've been sucked right in. Not that Veal's songs are dancehall fodder, you understand, they're just not about all that much. This must be a deliberate choice on behalf of the band, it just works too well for it to be any other way.
Howard Redekopp was MIA, so a fellow named Brian Minato filled in on bass and did a fine job -- and what a gorgeous bass too. Doucet's guitar has this spacey twang, which is very effectively punctuated by Chang's drumming, which brings me to this: the worst thing I could say about this band is that, at times, the drumming stoops to some Warped Tour (pick an Epitaph band, any Epitaph band) generic punk low. Which is too bad, because other than those moments, Veal is nothing short of three pieces of pop-rock goodness.
The band finished off with "Manic Depression" and "Can't Stand Losing You" as their encore. Then, with a quick, cheeky Bryan Adams guitar riff (say, was that "It's Only Love?"), the boys from Veal were gone.
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