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Neon Reverb: Molly’s Saturday journal

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The new-look Lazystars
Photo: Freebird Photography
Molly O'Donnell

On Night 3 of Neon Reverb, the rock raged on. We got to the parking lot behind the Royal fairly late into the Atari Teenage Riot set, or so we thought. They were slated to go on at 8, but when we got there at 9, they seemed like they were only about halfway through. Due to a mix-up, the official festival schedule listed them as going on much later, which was kind of a bummer for ATR.

I never thought I’d feel bad for German hardcore electronic musicians, but I did. The parking lot had about 100 to 150 people in it, which at one of the venues would have felt like a nice crowd. In the vast expanse of a giant parking lot behind a hotel, it felt like a talent show turn out. I pictured girls in platform Marilyn Manson boots and their punk-rock boyfriends in Mohawks walking around a deserted parking lot later that night, confusedly kicking empty cans of Beast Light. The fact that it was a free, all-ages show was the kicker. Leader Alec Empire mentioned that they were really like the Anonymous Teenage Riot hadn’t seen such a low turnout since their early shows in Berlin in, like, 1992.

That said, they didn’t bring any animosity into their performance, which takes the words high-energy and pisses all over them. (Sorry, just saying.) They screamed, jumped hurdlers, and dove into the crowd of mostly teenage fans, looking unruffled the whole time. I need the Atari Teenage Riot home workout DVD. Apparently screaming and jumping every night keeps you young.

After that show, the Artifice crowd seemed tame…not a single person smashing into me or spitting. Weird. The first band we saw was Shiny Boots of Leather, which had a Dylan-ish quality, though much more danceable, than say “It Ain’t Me, Babe” or even the Velvet Underground song “Venus in Furs,” which I assume inspired the band’s name.

United Ghosts took the stage next. Apparently some of them are ex-members of LA outfit Mere Mortals, and this Reverb set marked the Ghosts first-ever performance. They sounded amazing, like arena quality, and it didn’t have much to do with the sound system at the Artifice. The night was turning into another feather in the cap of darling Reverb.

Last up, The Lazystars seemed to have changed a lot since last I saw them: A new guitarist, a new keyboard player, a new forthcoming album and a new sound. Unable to discern what caused this switch-up, I have to admit I was somewhat resistant at first. I sort of loved them before. You know how people don’t like change? I’m people. I finally decided to retire my woobie and actually listen to the revamped sound.

The constant keys take some of the dark edge they had away and toss in a bit of a psychedelic vibe. In fact, I could see how their new numbers like “One of a Kind” and “Step on the Gas” might have a wider audience appeal than even some of their older songs. They did, however, mostly play previously recorded tunes like “Light of Day.” These just sounded slightly different with the new adds.

Everyone there was dancing and seemed to enjoy the show, particularly one spinning, pixie-headed fashionista. The place was pretty packed, despite the competing events and the fact that it was, once again, the wee hours. Apparently we aren’t going to see The Stars for a while after this, because they’re hitting the studio to make a new album. Very exciting, but too bad for you if you didn’t catch the show.

Neon Reverb rolls on with … shhh … a secret set by Ronnie Vannucci’s Big Talk tonight at the Beauty Bar at 10:30 p.m.

The Lazystars' setlist:

“One of a Kind”

“Atomic Sunshine”

“A Perfect World”

“She Knows Everything”

“Pictures and Photographs”

“Airplanes”

“Step on the Gas”

“Light of Day”

“God”

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