I’m not expecting to depart clutching a cassette tape when I enter the Freakin’ Frog Saturday night. I do figure on hearing a bunch of high-energy, loud-as-hell hardcore and post-hardcore tuneage, which indeed transpires, thanks to two bands from Vegas and two in from Salt Lake City.
The Utah bands, Reviver and Challenger, rock pretty hard, but sound kinda straightforward compared to the locals, Caravels and Old Iron Sights, both of which love tinkering with tempos and tunings.
Sporting a simultaneously shaggier (drummer George Foskaris’ hair) and less shaggy (guitarist Dillon Shines’ clean-shaven face) look than usual for its night-opening set, Caravels performs three promising new tunes—“Dark Obsession,” “Flawless Victory” and “Snake Plissken”—along with two from last year’s Hunt Things EP, though not “First Blood” off the Weekly’s year-end local playlist. Ahem.
The Caravels boys report they’re working up a pair of seven-inch records (one a split with Old Iron Sights) and that, though all five members are now fully committed to the band—Shines’ and bassist Cory Van Cleef’s Tramlines having gone on indefinite hiatus—fans shouldn’t expect a slew of live dates early in ’09. “We don’t want to play too much,” singer Mike R says. “Plus, we prefer to do all-ages shows, and there’s nowhere [like that] to play.” Thus, tonight’s rare bar appearance.
Old Iron Sights draws the closing slot, and quickly livens up the somewhat fatigued crowd. The group’s lineup has changed since this time last year; Pedro Francisco Hernandez Molina (now, that’s a name!) now mans the drums, and Travis Dunsmoor has signed on to play keys and add laptop atmospherics. OIS nearly gets offstage without an encore, but Caravels isn’t having any of that, so frontman Jason Levi acquiesces with “Epic Patriot,” the appropriately epic leadoff cut on the five-piece’s debut EP, Ex-Post Facto.
That limited CD is offered for sale after the show, though Levi explains the band is preparing to release new tunes through Utah-based Exigent Records. “We’ll do one on the split with Caravels and two more on a digital release,” he says. “The CD thing is cool, but they kind of get tossed out.” Which explains why I’m holding this damn cassette, an Old Iron Sights split with Texas outfit Dance of Days. Inside: a download code for all four tracks. Phew! Looks like I won’t have to dig that tape player out of my garage after all.