Heavy Times w/ Teenage Moods, Micronics and Telecraft @ Quarter’s Rock ’n’ Roll Palace
April 27, 2013
Saturday’s bill at Quarters promised an ideal night of upbeat rock ’n’ roll, and started with two local acts, neither of which have been around very long and one of which is already breaking up. First up was Telecraft, whose likable lo-fi pop-punk was fairly tight for a band which hasn’t played out much, if at all. The only thing that really needs fixing is the vocals; it’s not actually a problem that neither the bassist or guitar player in this power trio can sing (this is rock ’n’ roll after all), but them tag-teaming the singing duties made for some awkward dynamics. They were well received, though the more spirited listeners appeared to be close friends there to give the fledging group moral support.
Next up was Micronics, who, again, formed rather recently, but are made up of talented players from some notable local bands, including The Goodnight Loving. Or at least they were, since a third of the three-piece is soon relocating, which, judging solely by this farewell performance, is a shame, as their amped-up mixture of twangy ’50s guitar instrumentals, garage-rock fundamentals and jaded punk attitude boasted a lot of promise. They were at their best when they kept the pace up, since the slower numbers, like a memorable one about getting high all the time, while by no means bad, felt half-finished in contrast to those that loudly filled the bar with thumping toms and rollicking guitar lines drenched in surf-style distortion.
Chicago’s Heavy Times were ostensibly tonight’s headliners, but thanks to some heavy drinking they came close to not playing at all. It’s commonplace to see a performer imbibing before the show, but watching the HoZac Records artists try to set up their gear was both pathetic and unintentionally hilarious; at one point, rubber-legged guitarist Matt Courtade knelt down to run some cables and gradually ended up sprawled, semi-conscious, on the stage. Somehow they got everything plugged-in and proceeded to bash and howl their way through four short songs before wavering lead singer Bo Hansen abruptly blurted out “Thanks, we’re Heavy Times” and threw in the towel. Musically, it was, surprisingly, not that bad (the hard-hitting rhythm section seemed relatively sober and ready-to-go), but overall it was incredibly unprofessional.
Finding themselves with an astonishingly easy act to follow for their Milwaukee debut, Minneapolis’ Teenage Moods breezed in and restored some of the summery good vibes dispelled by Heavy Times’ drunken debacle. Trading in a dreamy, subtly quirky off-shoot of garage rock, the band’s name is apt, but their stage presence is bright and charming. The impact they made, playing on the floor dwarfed by footage of their last show hastily recorded over a VHS of the 1975 Afro-centric teen comedy Cooley High, was somewhat diminished by a drawn-out set, but at the same time they never wore out their welcome. It was a strange night, both an enjoyable, well-deserved break from wintry gloom and a potent reminder to pace oneself on those warm nights still to come.