Last night: Royal Bangs | Rock Candy

Monday, November 9, 2009

Last night: Royal Bangs

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 2:47 PM

click to enlarge unknown.jpg

Royal Bangs
Nov. 8, Sticky Fingerz

When you hear the album of an ambitious five-piece like Knoxville’s Royal Bangs, so beat-layered and synth-addled, it’s easy to respect the potency of their music, but you can’t help wondering if they’re going to capsize live. But despite residual hangovers from having played Fun Fun Fun Fest Saturday in Austin, Royal Bangs shook it up right Sunday night.

Frontman/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/all-around wunderkind Sam Stratton held court front and center, launching into gospel-caliber wails within seconds of the opening number. The immediate, fireball energy the band brings is enough to startle you sober—in the first song, every single band member starts dancing, and not just pseudo-rockstar posturing, I mean dancing. It's joyous; it knocks you sideways.

Stratton is flanked by the dueling guitars of Brandon Biondo and Ryan Schaefer, who alternately created a massive wall of sound and play flirty call-and-response Television-esque melodic riffs. The driving rhythm is brought by Henry Gibson on bass, and Chris Rusk absolutely murdering his drumkit — his snare actually did break, a largely unnoticed misfortune. The rhythm and melodies are supplemented by Stratton's beats and synth flourishes, for good measure: songs like "Brainbow" sounded like thoughtful indie-pop composed over the “MegaMan 3” soundtrack.

But that’s not to say Royal Bangs are just your little sister’s favorite synth-pop dance band — the tune "Shit Xmas" appeared out of nowhere, a triumphant, adolescent-feeling power pop anthem, almost meriting a fist-pump, and cemented their genre-straddling appeal. Sunday isn’t usually the best night to hear music in Little Rock. But you should have been there. It felt like the college house party you still tell stories about.

Natalie Elliott

Sign up for the Daily Update email


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Dark Money Edition

    The coming primary and judicial elections, especially the dark money flowing into a race for an Arkansas Supreme Court position; also Leslie Rutledge and the ballot initiative process and the Razorbacks and War Memorial.
    • May 18, 2018
  • The Leslie Rutledge Sovereign Immunity Trap Edition

    The Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, sovereign immunity and Leslie Rutledge and the Little Rock mayoral race — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • May 11, 2018
  • Samantha's again wins the Arkansas Times Second Annual Margarita Fest

    Congratulations to Samantha's Tap Room & Wood Grill for winning the Arkansas Times Second Annual Margarita Festival presented by Don Julio Tequila last night. The Pizzeria was the runner-up. Thanks to the 600 people who came out to the sold-out event, proceeds of which benefited the Downtown Partnership.
    • May 11, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation