Bare Wires at Yucca Tap Room, 2/27/12

Bare Wires Yucca Tap Room Monday, February 27

It was hard not to feel just a little bad for the earnest strummers in Yucca's neighboring craft bar when Manhands, the first of four loud bands took the stage last night. I can imagine that at least a little of the band's maxed out volume made for a strange juxtaposition next door.

Loud might as well as been the theme of the evening -- on the surface, local openers Manhands, Weird Ladies, and Andrew and His Feisty Felines didn't have much in common with Oakland's Bare Wires, other than those ubiquitous distorted electric guitars. On closer inspection, the violent punk of Manhands, the jerky, rhythmic post punk of Weird Ladies, and the surfy, vintage-frat rock sound of A&HFF all shared with Bare Wires an urgent, show-me-don't-tell-me stage ethic: quick, dirty, and brief.

On stage, Bare Wires sounded a little different than its "glitter fuzz" records might suggest. Singer/guitarist Matthew Melton stood pipe-thin next to his pipe-thin amplifier, howling away at gritty, Detroit-style proto-punk.

Staring at drummer Omar, I found myself wondering, "Where's Alice Cooper tonight?" I'm sure he's a busy guy, but on his radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper, he's always bemoaning the lack of "real rock 'n' roll." I can't claim to be an expert on whatever that is, but what Bare Wires let blurt was certainly an enjoyable facsimile, if not a shining example of boogie-woogie hardcore pop.

The power trio certainly has the rock 'n' retro look down, sporting painted-on jeans, all ridiculously tall, long-haired, and working with vintage gear (mid-set, Melton ditched his Gibson SG in favor of -- I think, at least -- some cheap and groovy-looking Ovation electric).

"You like to smoke weed?" Omar asked. "You should smoke some weed after the show."

You get the sense that either Bare Wires eschews stereotypical marijuana reactions, or they save the stuff for the post-show chill-out, because their racket sounded fueled by domestic beer and shots.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Bare Wires at Yucca Tap Room

Better Than: Trying to fit into jeans as tight as those guys were sporting.

How Cool is It: That Eastside is just down the way in the plaza? Pre-show digging makes the whole thing that much more enjoyable.

Overheard at The Open Mic: "Keep on Rocking in the Free World;" a guy named Bruce playing some interesting looping post-rock electric guitar (someone get that guy a band).

Who's Picking the Between Set Music? I can get into the melodramatic indie stuff, but last night seemed like the wrong show for it.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.

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