Whether it was the Christmas lights hung from the walls or the vibes from the music, there was a definite feeling of good will filling the Bunkhouse during Friday night's Thor at the Bus Stop DVD and soundtrack release party.
Along with the bands scheduled to play that night — National Southwestern recording label acts Mother McKenzie, Kid Meets Cougar, Hungry Cloud and A Crowd of Small Adventures, all of which are featured on the soundtrack of the Thompson brothers' indie film — musicians from various other local acts turned out to in full support.
They backed one another in the form of a dance party during Kid Meet's Cougar set and jumped up on stage for impromptu collaborations during others. Both Hungry Cloud and A Crowd of Small Adventures received assistance from Bryan Todd of local indie-rock group The Novelty Act. Todd got behind the mic and offered up his vocal chords for Hungry Cloud on the chorus of "Build Our Houses," and took a seat behind the drums for ACOSA's cover of Billy Bragg's "A New England." Pan De Sal's Jeff Madlambayan also got in the spirit of the night with a spur-of-the-moment freestyle accompanied by ACOSA.
Despite all the musical distractions, the evening's focus never slipped. Each band dutifully plugged Thor at the Bus Stop, which premiered at CineVegas last year and played silently on the Bunkhouse wall for the first half of the night.
Kid Meets Cougar won hands down for the most creative endorsement. They made their stage entrance — following a video projection of the duo as pro-wrestlers — decked-out in full Thor-inspired costumes. Brett Bolton wore a Viking ensemble complete with a horned helmet, and Courtney Carroll was fashioned in the film's white-trash look: a wife-beater with tattoos drawn on her upper-arms with marker.
Carroll confessed to the audience that they had planned to take the Thor theme even further by enacting a scene from the movie. "I was going to yell, 'Where's the fruit snacks?' and then throw them, but I forgot them in the van," she said during a pause between songs, "So I'll just have to hand them out after and yell, 'Here's the fruit snacks!' in your face. ... If you haven't seen the movie, then you have no idea what I'm talking about."
The show came to a surprise ending when local blues band The Rooks followed ACOSA to close out the evening. The unplanned performance was even something of a surprise to the band. "There are only 60 percent of The Rooks here," singer Zach Ryan revealed to the remaining audience members, "but we're going to play 110 percent of our songs."
The intimacy lingered as the night wound down. Great music, warm vibe, good friends — the only thing missing were those delicious fruit snacks.