I’m beginning to feel like that dickhead voice-over dude from the Head-On commercials. But instead of repeatedly instructing you take a roll-on deodorant stick and “APPLY DIRECTLY TO FOREHEAD!!!” I’m constantly telling you to “TURN YOUR FUCKING AMPLIFIERS DOWN.” My message has a far better chance of preventing headaches than rubbing wax on your face, but you guys are making me sound like Old Man Jenkins, here. The thing is, though, I’m really only arguing against excessive noise when it’s detrimental to your band. If your guitarist has an “RIP Dimebag Darrell” tattoo, and your lyrics sheet is just the words “pain and suffering” scrawled repeatedly in goblin blood, by all means crank the knob to the right and break it off. But if you’re playing hallucinogen-hazed early ’60s sun pop structured around delicate vocals (i.e. Golden Lights) in a glorified family room (i.e. GIG), can I please show you something in a size other than 11?
Golden Lights, probably unintentionally, is the latest small-venue noise casualty. Like the Doors, the SA outfit takes its name from Aldous Huxley’s mescaline essay “The Doors of Perception,” but if anyone in Golden Lights has ever heard “Light My Fire” or “L.A. Woman,” you couldn’t prove it from the music. Opener “Be Here Now” (not, I’m fairly certain, an Oasis cover, but I wouldn’t testify to it under oath) bounces with a pre-Lizard King innocence better compared to Buddy Holly or the Everly Brothers. The loose interplay between guitarists Luis Tapia and Jor-el (his actual, legal name) Turrubiates ends up carrying the song, but tracks on the band’s Myspace page (myspace.com/goldenlightsmusic) prove lead vocalist Joshua Turrubiates has the perfect voice for this stuff — too bad you can’t hear it. He sure looks like he’s giving it his all though, eyes closed, clutching his chest. Manda Yanez, last heard singing “Happy Birthday” to herself during soundcheck, appears to sing a counter melody, but she might very well be a convincing mime.
“Moksha” follows with a tiny bit of hipster-friendly twang and a neato staccato guitar line from Tapia. Joshua Turrubiates moves to better hear himself (wish we all could) and actually manages to get a few “whoa-oh-ohs” in edgewise. Between songs, he directs the audience to the band’s website, where, he promises, “you can look at naked pictures of all of us.” He’s lying, of course (the band looks so young, I’m pretty sure that would be a federal offense) but you can hear an acoustic and glockenspiel-intensive version of “The Soft Blanket,” in which everyone of his “ooh yeah, girl”s is immediately audible. Tonight, though, the song sounds like kind of a mess. You can hear Yanez clapping, somehow, but you still can’t hear her sing.
“Country Werewolves,” with its vintage-wash rock ’n’ roll beat, fares better, though only Joshua Turrubiates’s “aaahs” are audible.
“I can’t hear shit, honestly,” he says at song’s end. And it’s really a damn shame. Check out Golden Lights September 7 at White Rabbit (sawhiterabbit.com) where the sound system’s equipped for metal and hardcore acts, so we should get more clarity even if these damn kids don’t dial that racket down. And the next time your Frisbee lands on my roof, I’m keeping it.
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