Forty hours before the start of Coachella, Acrobatics Everyday hosted Crash Normal at Phoenix Grille, Wednesday, April 23. Southern Californian bands Wounded Lion, Some Days and The Muslims accompanied Crash Normal, a Parisian import billed as “psychedelic French punk.”
Some Days opened the show with short songs, simple beats and a jangly guitar. A few of the songs sounded like early R.E.M. songs sans Michael Stipe. The drummer and vocalist for Some Days consistently rode his snare and floor tom hard, snapping a drum stick in half on one song. During another song, the guitarist assumed the vocals, still strumming her yellow and black bull’s-eye Les Paul. Between songs, the band sipped Newcastle Brown Ale, a drink that was also popular with the audience. At one point, keeping with the laissez-faire atmosphere, the drummer decided to change the band’s name. “Now, we’re called The Stranglers.”
By the time Wounded Lion started its set, the quantity of people and bottled beer had grown considerably. Wearing slacks and dress shoes, Wounded Lion’s tall lead singer looked like he was performing after work. His reverb-drenched vocals complimented the band’s invigorating two-chord verses and occasional tambourine. Although the crowd was energetic, no one was more enthusiastic than Wounded Lion’s bassist, whirling around on the floor of Phoenix Grille.
Composed of two guitarists, Vincent and Jerome, Crash Normal was the only act without a rhythm section. They compensated with an electronic beat machine and pure volume. When Jerome asked, “Is it too loud?” the audience shouted back a fervent “No!” Accompanied by ghostly industrial beats, Crash Normal played its own brand of fierce, fuzz-laden psychedelic rock. Jerome’s distorted vocals also increased the band’s immense sonic output. UCI was the second stop on Crash Normal’s West Coast Tour: 10 cities from San Diego to Seattle in less than two weeks.
As gratifying as Crash Normal’s set was, it was The Muslims that really made the crowd move. The band’s infectious blend of garage rock and post-punk pop had people dancing by the second song. To some extent, The Muslims’ sound was much cleaner than the bands that preceded them. They were also the youngest performers of the night. Despite its youth, however, the band has already attracted considerable attention. Earlier this month, the music Web site Stereogum named The Muslims as “The Band to Watch.”
With a diverse lineup of bands bound together by a punk rock aesthetic, Acrobatics Everyday’s latest show offered music fans yet another unique concert experience.