UPDATED: Last Night: Appleseed Cast at House of Creeps
Photos by Joshua Justice
Houston House of Creeps
February 6, 2013
UPDATED: Due to a glitch in our publishing software, the second half of the review was not posted originally. The full review has now been restored -- ed.
We'll excuse you if you haven't heard of House of Creeps just yet. Despite heading into its third year holding shows, the DIY warehouse venue on the sleepy north end of downtown isn't quite on the city wide musical radar. Tucked off a side street in the same block that houses both Last Concert Cafe and Oxheart, the facade of the sprawling warehouse compound at 807 William is painted to mimic Van Gogh's Starry Night.
Much like the neighborhood around it, now home to a reloacted, re-invigorated and thriving Walters, House of Creeps' profile continues to rise. Building on success of large-scale events like the four-stage, 50-band Creeperfest event in November -- not to mention ongoing weekend parties featuring Houston bands like Wild Moccasins and Featherface as well as touring acts -- the venue has slowly built a steady, loyal fan base that packs the house by the hundreds at shows week in and week out.
House of Creeps has recently partnered with local promoters Treaty Oak Collective in an effort to bring in even more ambitious shows. The first such high-profile event came to town last night in the form of Kansas post-rock outfit Appleseed Cast. The intimate living room show was limited to just 50 tickets -- far smaller than a typical show -- and promptly sold out.
Houston was the halfway mark for Christopher Crisci and his bandmates' seven-stop living room tour. "After 13 plus years, this is the only way I can go out and do this," he said of the carefully planned micro-tour "I have a life, two kids at home, I got sports, all that stuff."
All the better for fans, as a small handful of dedicated followers got to see nearly 75 minutes of the band up close and personal. While most in attendance were clearly longtime fans, one girl I spoke with afterwards was new to Appleseed Cast.
"I liked that a lot. It was very dreamy even though it was so loud," she said
"They sounded to me a little like My Bloody Valentine or even Explosions in the Sky... is that right?" she questioned. "Like Rock-Gaze...Cocteau Twins if they had balls."
I think she hit the nail on the head in her musings. Crisci's processed and droned guitars are a study in controlling the moment. All at once crushing yet somber, a controlled anger was ever-present.
With "On Reflection" from 2001's Low Level Owls -- the band's atmospheric double-album opus -- jangly arrangements and chasing guitars called to mind that My Bloody Valentine reference despite the song's strong pop sensibility. I got the feeling that at some point the band would overpower the small room with their swelling sound,but that never happened.
They continued pulling from Owls with the softer, sweeping "Doors Lead to Questions" and "Steps and Numbers," both songs clocking in at nearly ten minutes of pushing-and-pulling guitar and bass. This was the band I'm most familiar with, and they seemed comfortable in these songs, Appleseed Cast at its height.
Reaching back to even earlier work, "Fishing the Sky" was less layered sound and more straightforward post-hardcore, and the small crowd was pushed forward, giving the band just inches of room past their rigs and assorted 12-packs of beer at their feet -- this was a BYOB venue, after all.