Friday Night: Square and Compass Record Release at Mango's

Photos by Joshua Justice
Square and Compass
January 25, 2013

Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to make progress. In years where dubstep continues to proliferate and Owl City insists on building a genre around a Postal Service record that is now over a decade old, I'm perfectly OK with re-examining the best and brightest in post-hardcore from years past.

That's exactly what Square and Compass very aptly do on How to Escape, the Houston quintet's most recent release. Weaving equal parts Jets to Brazil and Texas is the Reason with more intense acts like Gospel, How to Escape is a composed and poised, if relatively safe, study of the past 15 years of post-hardcore.

Shows at Mango's are a crapshoot. For every small regional touring act that deserves far better yet manages to bring in less than 20 people, there could be an inexplicably large crowd for a bill full of high-school-talent-show rejects. I wasn't sure what to expect Friday, but when I arrived a crowd was milling around the front parking lot even two hours before Square and Compass was slated to play their 1 a.m. slot.

I walked into bad intermission music -- riddled with intentional clipping and static -- and wasn't sure whether the sound system at Mango's finally shit the bed, or if I was having a stroke. As it turned out, this was a one-man act playing in the middle of the crowded main room.

Broken Satellite, a chiptune artist, had a small DJ stand with a screen in front playing the 1983 arcade game Star Wars. I have no problem with chiptune, a subgenre built around sounds from 8-bit video games and electronic synthesizers. I enjoyed Anamanaguchi's contribution to the Scott Pilgrim universe. And while a lot of the home-cooked equipment involved is admirable, it's still a very niche genre, and making music that sounds like your amplifiers are cutting out isn't clever, it's just annoying.

The parking lot began to slowly file in and fill up for Square and Compass. Combined with the crowded back patio, Friday wound up as one of Mango's larger crowds in recent memory.

Location Info


403 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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