On a balmy Tucson night, fans and thrill-seekers came out for a show featuring four bands that, to a degree, have all been lumped in with the most-recent indie model: the psychedelic band.
First up was the recently revived Resonars, who continued their second wind with another strong set. They were playing this kind of music before it was rampant.
Memphis' Shawn Cripps and his revolving collective known as Limes were up next, and created small ripples where big waves should have been. Dreamy, droning and beautiful, this was forward-looking and creative psychedelia. They sounded like a rickety boat bobbing up and down on a somewhat calm river. Limes were sloppy yet convincing, possessing the best qualities of rock 'n' roll. Their sound was reminiscent of mid-'80s New Zealand indie rock played by the likes of The Clean and Tall Dwarfs, with some of the rhythmic sensibility of Captain Beefheart.
The most-hyped band of the evening was The Paperhead, four gentlemen barely out of their teens from Nashville. Perhaps The Paperhead have gotten too much attention, too soon. Perhaps they haven't evolved into the unique rock band they will be. In any case, they personified the problem with following any retro revivalist trend to the letter. Combining Yes' vocal harmonies, drum solos, bass solos, organ solos and full-band solos, The Paperhead took this psychedelic trip one step further into the dreaded abyss of '70s progressive rock. Now, prog-rock has its fair share of champions, but members of The Paperhead had no idea that they had fallen off the ledge into hippie anthems.
This left Tucson's Lenguas Largas (who are not particularly psychedelic) to clean up. After the insufferable mess of The Paperhead, Lenguas Largas came on like a bulldozer, focused in their intensity and attack. Their songs are rhythmically based in two drummers bashing away simplistically, and that made all the difference. This band made you move, not stare into topographic oceans. Atop that foundation are concise and brief songs that possess plenty of emotional substance—and that made Lenguas Largas the night's most-impressive act.