Showcase recap | Rock Candy

Friday, February 22, 2008

Showcase recap

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 3:00 PM

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Round four winner Kyoto Boom (L-R: Dave Raymond, Scott Cook and Duke Boyne) Photo by Brian Chilson.

I'm still struggling to get my bearings after last night's Showcase. All the acts brought it, but Kyoto Boom and the Damn Bullets each gave us performances that would kill on any stage in the country. The judges were torn. Two of the five scored them even. One liked Kyoto Boom a lot more. Another the Damn Bullets. A fifth judge scored KB a point higher than DBs. Closest round yet.

UPDATE: Aight. If you missed the culmination of the semi-finals, you blew it. Everyone else was there. Once again it was a mostly full house. For the first time in a while, we were Belvis-less. But there was more dancing than ever before — stage dancing, wife-of-lead-singer dancing, Times staffers-dancing, hilarious  dancing grinding. The judges remained vigilante. One dude spent 30 minutes near the stage not watching the band, but staring at the judges, trying to divine the scoring early on, I guess.

The rundown:

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Kyoto Boom: Scott Cook sings and Dave Raymond is a blur. Photo by Brian Chilson.
Kyoto Boom put on as strong of a show as I've seen in a long time in the second slot. (A reminder: My opinion doesn't factor in at all to the judging.) I think you'd be hard-pressed to point to a local lead man  with stronger vocals or more charisma than Scott Cook. Or someone who can play 1/8 notes on bass with one hand and keyboard with the other. All the dudes in the band are vets of awesome local bands of days gone by, and it shows on stage. They're tight and polished and they play with a lot of swagger and energy. Far from the alt-country-ish work he put in with Mulehead, Dave Raymond uses his guitar percussively, shreds occasionally and sometimes goes full-tilt skronk, all within the confines of the song. Never too showy or tiresome. Duke Boyne kicks out precision beats. There's a long history of post-punk revival bands in Little Rock. Few, if any, have been as broadly appealing as Kyoto Boom. Next up: The finals on March 7.

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Natural State. By Brian Chilson.

Natural State opened. They're definitely a young band to watch. They do a heavy, steady-grind acid/classic rock kind of thing. With three different lead singers, who sound decidedly different, including the always welcome singing-drummer. The best moment of the show was when this floppy-haired redheaded kid, better known to his fans as Willie from the band Cephus, ran from the crowd and started wailing into the mic. While stomping and crazy dancing, with hair flying. Here's to the unexpected. Sat., March 8, they play again at Juanita's.

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4X4 Crew. Photo by Brian Chilson.

I'm all about 4X4's approach to hip-hop. They do it old-school. With a DJ. No edit tracks and a positive message that rarely get hokey. They can rap a lot, too, particularly the group's leaders, SJ (above, mic extended) and Burna Boi (who you can hear on 96.5 weekdays from 6 p.m. til midnight). They kept the crowd hyped in the third slot of the night. SJ sermonized, awesomely, about how being street and being from the street doesn't necessarily mean you're up to no good. Everyone put A's up for their single "Tell Yo Mama (I'm from Arkansas." It's catchy as hell. Look out for 4X4. There's not a crew around more driven.

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The Damn Bullets. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Damn Bullets closed down the night. As mentioned before, they lost by one measly point. That's a big time bummer for the band and its legion of fans because the Bullets put on a fine, fine show that probably would've won it for them another night. They do a kind of old-time, freak-folk — a strain of Americana that draws on the acid-infused folk music of the '60s. A lot of their songs have that brisk, auctioneer-talk pace.

Damn Bullets fans, easily identifiable by their mountain man beards and tie-dyed t-shirts, got down. Some even grinded. Speaking of gateway sex, the Bullet on the right eye-sexed the judges table and humped his guitar during the peak of one song.

Let me be the latest in a long line to predict continued big things from the DBs. See them in their side project Ghost Co. tonight at White Water with Good Fear.

Pics below.




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Kyoto Boom from on high. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Dave Raymond and Duke Boyne of Kyoto Boom. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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The aforementioned wife-dancing. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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Natural State. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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Natural State with Willie! Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Willie! Photo by Brian Chilson.


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4x4 Crew. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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4x4 Crew. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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4x4 Crew. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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Damn Bullets. Photo by Brian Chilson.

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Damn Bullets. Photo by Brian Chilson.


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The eye-sexing Damn Bullet. Photo by Brian Chilson.
 

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