Live & Local

Note to local musicians: This performance, not bad for what it was, compels me to say, please: If it turns out  the performance I’m scheduled to review for Live & Local isn’t going to be representative of your band, let me know, and I’ll come see you at a later date.

Erekeecludi show up at the Ten Eleven more than half an hour after they’re scheduled to go on. That’s pretty much standard — I’m practically suspicious of the bands that arrive on time. (What are they trying to hide?) What’s weird, though, is they’re down two band members.

“Our drummer’s missing, and our singer’s missing,” Eric Camacho explains, adding later that the absent drummer is visiting family in “Vermont or Virginia or something.”

Guitarist Camacho and bassist Rob Martinez (who turned 21 today and sips what might well be his first legal beer between songs) set up on the floor in front of the stage, and they’ve improvised a solution to make up for the absent timekeeper — they’ve plugged an iPhone loaded with drum tracks into an amplifier.

That still leaves Camacho to shoulder the vocal duties, though, and his pop-punk performance on set starter “Our Fav Song” suggests he’s got a few Blink-182 CDs tucked away in his closet. But if that’s the case, they’re buried under piles of torn-to-shit jeans and Swans bootlegs, because whatever he’s singing is almost entirely obliterated by the metal-heavy guitar and bass lines, which snarl like two rabid Rotweilers fighting over a fresh pair of eardrums. A more dynamic (and better mic-ed) vocalist might give the song a contrasting melodic element, but Camacho’s “lalalas” are largely lost in the mix, one more exposed, barely identifiable organ in a gorey rock ‘n’ roll vivisection.

“Weer Erekeecludi” fares better, probably because it’s based on straight-ahead aggression. The relentless pounding results in feelings of danger and claustrophobia, like being trapped in a plummeting elevator with Minor Threat.

“We’re gonna try harder,” Camacho vows after the song’s over, but they don’t sound as bad as he seems to think. The brighter tropicalia elements in the studio version of “Time Sux” are submerged in sludge, although the shuffling beat translates surprisingly well to this two-man setup — but maybe I’m swayed by my tendency to root for the underdog. In cinematic terms, we’re practically watching Cool Runnings the concert.

“You guys should jam harder,” Camacho suggests. “We’ve only got two more songs.”

“Ikijanot” sounds like the start of a strong finish, too. The song, “about hating my job,” according to Camacho, boils with young rage and indignation, and the instrumentals sound like the Doolittle-era Pixies tuning up. Nobody’s slamming or shoving, but this box is a convection oven. You can’t not smell the sweat coming off everybody, so an appreciative head nod’s probably about the best two dudes and an MP3 player can hope for.

The closing instrumental is the only real misstep. Played by a full band, this cacophonous noise collage would probably seem intentionally avant-garde, but tonight’s setup strongly suggests a couple of guys who’ve never held their instruments before jamming along with some unrecognizable song on the radio.

I’m looking forward to seeing them again when the full band is back in town.

Fri, May 28
The Ten Eleven
1011 Ave. B 

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