|Photos by Andrew Barcus|
|Timber! (right) and Scuba Steve join forces.|
Going to a show at Super Happy Fun Land is always an out-of-this-world experience. The multicolored walls tell a story, one of a man capable of eating his own leg, another of just random tagging, although it is fairly new. These walls tell a story: one of hopes, dreams, underappreciation and, most importantly, the desire to be original.
Almost every artist seeks this fate, but few manage. Although the bands on SHFL's bill Tuesday played music that has been done many times before, from an ambient beginning to the simple rock and roll finish, the execution alone made it original.
Starting out was Illinois' Goodnight and Good Morning. On its fourth tour, this band is made up of two guys, Ryan and Pat, who make music that begs to be spoken over. This may sound harsh, but go with it for a moment. Though some might think of "ambient" as boring or quiet, that's not the case with these two.
During their set, the only thing that came to mind were the conversations being held over it. This isn't music meant to get guests dancing at a party, nor is it music meant to be sat down and deeply studied. Though slightly cliched, it's "life music," intended to be played while doing daily activities and just simply living one's life. With the accompaniment of visual art, the duo's music did its job.
Next came the Roman Candles, best described as pub-rock. When you're stuck in a bar on open-mic night, this is the band you want playing. The quartet will narrate every sip, savor and chug that comes with a good night of drinking. Inviting audience members to dance, this band (featuring a rare accordion player) made an upbeat sound that came out almost like Irish folk with a bit of punk added in.
When Aftermath met Stuart, the one and only member of Timber!, our first impression was "this man is an audience member, not a performer." But in the blink of an eye, quiet, Lone-Star-sippin' Stuart was transformed. Where one seems shy, the other is boisterous and demanding of his audience. These two men are totally different from one another, but in the best possible way. When told by Alex, a.k.a. "Scuba Steve," "I don't want to steal your thunder." Timber! simply looked at him and humbly replied, "You can't steal my thunder, I have too much." He was right.
Last up were Stove Blow and Scuba Steve, two bands that share only the same initials. Stove Blow is one of those bands that has been around the block, up the street and out of the subdivision. If everyone else playing on the bill were the "virgins," these boys were definitely the seasoned whores of performing. With this being, possibly, their last concert ever, they held nothing back.
From behind the drums, Andrew Dixon dominated his audience with the power of both his instrument and vocals. But this did not leave out the other two members, Ryan and Rob. While Aftermath's eyes chose to focus primarily on the center-stage Dixon, our ears took special notice of what the other two were doing. Working very well together as a cohesive unit, Stove Blow's set came out a little psychedelic at times.
As for Scuba Steve, the best way to describe their music comes straight from lead singer Alex's mouth: "We just want to have fun, and fun spelled backwards is "nuf' and some just can't get 'nuf.'" Playing covers of both Daft Punk and Cake, the band was exactly that, fun.
When playing, whether to an audience of one or 1,000, Scuba Steve has an exact idea of how they want their shows to go, and will achieve this goal no matter what. For this reason (and the fact that they are genuinely talented) with time they could become something good.
Although Tuesday's acts shared nothing in common with one another, this show summed up everything that Super Happy Fun Land is about - a refuge for artists who are talented but don't necessarily have a place. On Aftermath's way out the door, a patron defined this night best: "It was a good show, definitely worth the price of a combo meal."