Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ex Hex @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Ex Hex; Spider Bags; Slothrust
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - June 12, 2015

The giddy, unmitigated joy one feels not just from watching Ex Hex but even just thinking about Ex Hex as a band right now has to be on the list of Top 5 Best Feelings of the Last Couple Years. Though comprised of veterans, notably band leader Mary Timony, Ex Hex is going through the old time motions of a young new punk band putting it out there. A single/ep (digital) in 2013 and a short, sweet, snappy killer of a full length record in 2014, and a live show that, due to brevity and good taste, includes some wise covers (The Real Kids' "All Kindsa Girls" and one that was new to this ignorant hack - Sweeney Todd's/Nick Gilder's "Roxy Roller").

With efficiency and a stunning level of grace and elegance that one would not really find elsewhere for this kind of music, the Ex Hex trio cut through the static of a music festival bill. The crowd had a high number of zombies with passes from this Northside Fest (a concept with each passing year frightens me more and more) but they were won over by the warm power of the band. Crunchy riffs, 100% precision rhythm, and then a Timony shred (fairly certain that is an ode to "My Sharona"'s wailing solo during "Hot and Cold") to put the goosebumps on your flesh.

Spider Bags first woke up the crowd from its slumber with borderline insane pounding riffs that recall a little roadhouse hellbilly with their punk. I was conjuring up Texas but it turns out I had the wrong BBQ - they're out of Chapel Hill, fitting with their spot (along with Ex Hex) on Superchunk's Merge label, THEE label of US - the true believers, the lovers of the pure, etc, etc. And it turns out (and I think I knew this once upon a time but old age resets things), Spider Bags come out of DC Snipers, the poorly named band that was red hot trendy in NYC garage rock for all of 6 months in 2005 before their lead singer didn't show up one day for recording an actual record and that was suddenly the end of that. It's good to know some ten years on, good things can still come out of bitter endings.

It should also be noted that together, Ex Hex and Spider Bags reminded us that the Gibson guitar company is still the greatest private company in the history of capitalistic civilization. With SG's and Les Paul's respectively, the bands proved that old truism - rock songs are written better with Gibsons in mind.

Slothrust have a vibe of "like? I dislike...everything?". Maybe blame the crowd. Maybe not.


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