Maybe it was the weather. Last Friday, three very different bands played at Plush with one thing in common: a serious sense of urgency. During these lazy days of summer, Yardsale Heart, the Electric Blankets and Lariats played a ferocious concert in three parts as though their lives depended on it.
In one of their increasingly rare live appearances, Yardsale Heart took the stage and answered the question: What happens when you take away the droning Moogs and Farfisas from Stereolab? The answer: You're left with retro-futuristic, electronically enhanced pop songs anchored by beautiful female harmonies. The band swept through material from their 2011 album, Watercolours, as well as some more-recent unrecorded material. Where Yardsale Heart broke the mold was playing up the latent, danceable disco beats in their experimental synth-pop. The highlight of the set was a cover of the song that gave them their name, Lenguas Largas' "Yardsale Heart," which took them down a very different musical road: Surprisingly rootsy, in the Tucson tradition of early-'80s desert rock, the song went from yearning to celebratory and joyous.
Next were the Electric Blankets, Tucson's resident garage-rock/mod group. However, the only mid-'60s influence was on the high-heeled Cuban boots worn on singer Raul Michel's feet. The Electric Blankets played an exciting mix of proto-metal (a Creation cover, not to mention drummer Steven Romo's Bonham-esque beats), '70s glam, and even a little post-punk from the late '80s, in the tradition of the Pixies. The end result was a whirlwind of a party-ready set that continued the joyous mood of the evening.
Lariats took the stage last, with lead singer Phillip Holman defiantly remarking, "We will ruin your night!" He was wrong, as the band filled the room with an excellent take on early-2000s post-hardcore, not unlike At the Drive-In or Thursday. Each song was more explosive than the one before, leading to an aggressive climax of noisy beauty.
Holman shouldn't have second-guessed himself, because Lariats succeeded at all they attempted. Maybe it was the weather ...