A debut, a reunion and a green slab of vinyl. For fans of Vegas-based progressive hardcore, how will the rest of 2011 live up to January 1?
When two touring bands dropped off Yayo Taco’s year-opening bill day-of, it stripped the show down to its bare essentials: the public debut of First Cousins, a return from on-hiatus Canopy Glass and a 7-inch-release by the headlining Caravels. Three great sounds that sounded great together for the 100-plus in attendance.
First Cousins, featuring members of local outfits past and present (The Fuckin Party, I Am the Thief, Lester Freamon), kicked it off with a sizzling set of twin-guitar-topped instrumentals. Put ’em on your bands-to-watch list. Canopy Glass followed with its first performance since February, when drummer T.J. Thompson moved to Portland. Home for the holidays, Thompson steered the three-piece through a series of moving mini-epics that begged for his return to town. “My heart was beating so fast I thought my hands might stop moving,” bassist Nathan Gwatney said afterward, promising more. “He’s thinking about spending his winters here, [but] regardless of where he’s living, we’re gonna regroup from time to time.”
Caravels closed the night, tuning up for a 17-show/18-day tour up the West Coast and celebrating the new record, a self-titled Topshelf Records release available in four colors, including limited-edition lime green. Live versions of the two new cuts (“Dream Beaver” and “Girth Impressions”) found the quintet’s melodic hardcore sound maturing further still, the loud/soft/loud dynamics shifting the close-quartered crowd from head-nod to mosh and back again. “My dream was to have a piece of vinyl with our band’s name on it,” bassist Cory Van Cleef said as Yayo emptied around 1 a.m. “I guess we have to think bigger.”