Pre-show acoustic sets generally are common only in the case of national touring bands playing a few songs at the local Amoeba Records before their full-scale venue performance. But maybe they shouldn’t be so unheard of on the local music scene.
Vegas resident act Twin Brother and San Diego’s The Paddle Boat proved to audiences Thursday at the Old Henderson coffee house Mocha Joe that two shows in one day definitely is not overkill. On the contrary, the late-afternoon installment proved more enjoyable on an unexpected, intimate level for both shoegazing indie-pop bands.
Twin Brother’s usual electric set with its excessive musical equipment — the assortment of foot pedals alone look like the control panel from a Star Trek ship — produces such a wide range of sounds that the vocals tend to get overshadowed. It was a pleasant surprise to see the scaled down — in both equipment and members as only four played the early show — version at Mocha Joe. The four-song set was short, but the vocal harmonies were sweet and the full room at Joe’s stayed captivated. The usual crowd banter common at local bar shows was virtually nonexistent.
The Paddle Boat — two out of whose three members are former Las Vegas residents — also brought a more organic version of their later-in-the-night sound, and were encouraged by audience members to continue playing despite the coffee house already keeping its doors open past the usual closing time.
When the two bands took to the Bunkhouse for their plugged-in sets later that night, the crowd was still healthy in number, even when Twin Brother took the stage at 2 a.m., and just as involved, trading in the seated, coffee-sipping attentiveness for beer-in-hand dancing. But the usual bar banter was back and the special, involved feel was lost a little with the bands having to play louder and more aggressively to keep a hold on the spotlight.
Hopefully this won’t be the last of the warm-up acoustic sets we see from Twin Brother, who proved their vocal harmonies were just as worth showcasing as their instrumentals. If the trend catches on with the help of Mocha Joe’s recent involvement, we can expect more local and passing-through acts to show their softer side.