Saturday Night: Buxton's Album Release Show At Fitzgerald's
Buxton packed them in upstairs at Fitzgerald's on Saturday night, playing the entirety of their brand-new, just-released LP, Nothing Here Seems Strange. Performing before an audience of family, scene mavens, new fans, old fans, people who had seen them playing house parties in the early '00s, and curious outsiders, the band made believers out of many and reaffirmed their might to everyone else.
Photos By Jim Bricker Buxton onstage Saturday night at Fitzgerald's
All in all this past weekend was a great one for Houston music, with the new -- not on Washington -- Walter's, Fitz, Vinyl Junkie, and every venue in between boasting stellar bills. The night before on the same stage at Fitz, the Wild Moccasins and the Tontons made the walls sweat, with close to 700 strong in the building. Vocal Tontons cheerleader Bun B didn't make an appearance this time around.
Locals Featherface opened the night around 9 p.m., wowing people who weren't yet familiar with their scrappy sound, equal parts Lemonheads and Radiohead circa Amnesiac. The grunge-tinged crevices in their work -- plus Steve Wells' vocals -- push them up and away from your standard, hoary indie and into something soothing and different. Check out their cut "Foxing" from last year's It Comes Electric EP for a taste of what I mean.
Elsewhere on Buxton's bill, Austin's Marmalakes, who have mastered the soft-loud folk-rawk dynamic with jazz-wristed drummer Josh Halpern putting on a show himself in back. A lot of bands may be doing what Marmalakes are doing, but their secret weapon seems to be Halpern.
With Buxton playing Strange in it's entirety, it allowed them to unravel the album the way they intended, removing it from the context of a setlist and turning it into a solid chunk of music, with help from Two Star Symphony on the album's latter cuts.
It's not until you take a few solitary listens to the album -- like I did before Saturday's show -- that you begin to develop a personal rhythm with the material. Also, I couldn't help but notice a passing resemblance to the cinescapes of director Tim Burton in Strange. My first spins of the album, back when it was just a promo disc in my inbox, sounded muddy to me. Live, the sound gains clarity.
"Riverbed" may be my favorite cut on Strange, but the drama of album opener "Wolves And Owls" isn't far behind. A swell of happy went over the crowd for "Boy Of Nine" which is the quintessential Buxton song circa 2012. It's like a perfect trailer for their sound. Someone is in the dark about their sound, push play on that one.