Spoonboy, Bepstein, Electrisad, Straight Straws - Trunk Space - 7/21/14

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Perhaps the reason garage rock fits so well at The Trunk Space is because the venue is the size and shape of a good-sized garage. The acoustics are just perfect for it. I never realized that before and that makes me like the small venue that much more.

Straight Straws opened the night with their mix of jangly guitar tunes and pop vocal melodies. Ben Nandin's project has been getting out a lot more, which is great. T.K. Campo (of T.K. and the Irresistibles) played bass and Max Martinez (of Wolvves) played drums. Sorry, I don't know the other guitarist.) There was a lot of dancing for them and they only slipped up once that I noticed, but immediately picked back up. Their vocal melodies make them a really fun band to see live.

I've never seen or heard of anyone playing like Bepstein. Using a projector and carefully timed pre-taped videos of himself and friends from Baltimore, he "played" with himself. So he would start out with simple guitar riffs, then his projected self would pop up or a friend with a trumpet solo. It was very well coordinated, clever and had the whole audience in stitches. Even the strange arguments Bepstein had with himself onscreen were well done, and the random clips from Oprah and Leslie Nielsen movies just added to the offbeat charm.

Only at Trunk Space can you catch a guy that sings songs about pizza and growing up on a video screen with himself. But I do wonder how many times the joke translates or if it gets old. That, and the music was pretty simple. Either way, Bepstein's song against TV ("They call it a program for a reason!") proves he has a good message.

Next was Spoonboy, this guy I had heard so much praise about, but really didn't "get." Here was a quiet little dude who looked like Rory Culkin playing a single electric guitar through an old amp. That was it. It was singer-songwriter coffee shop music electrified, except Spoonboy kept interrupting his songs to talk about smashing the patriarchy. Makes sense his songs were about "shitty dads" and wanting to be with his mom forever. I heard he has a band, but didn't bring them. Too bad, so sad. Speaking of sad...

Electrisad closed out the night and their band name couldn't be more accurate. Two young girls on synths (and for one song, Talisha picked up a guitar. I'd personally like to see more of that dynamic) singing bright-eyed pop about kind of sad things, like watching Netflix all day or breaking up and dying alone. "Everything I touch turns to dust," they sing.

But it's the kind of depressing tunes that make you want to dance, in the same vein as Electrelane or Best Coast. Despite their perceived frailty, Electrisad were both very engaging, (jump in the crowd? Get everyone dancing? Yes, please!) and in my opinion, the best band of the night.

It was a pretty typical night at Trunk Space - which is to say, not typical at all. Thanks to that little venue, you can get a whirlwind of weird, crazy, awesome flavor. Oh, and their air conditioning was working. That helps.

Critic's Notebook

Last Night: Electrisad, Spoonboy, Bepstein, Straight Straws at The Trunk Space

The Crowd: Young kids with colorful tank tops and scuffed-up shoes. Someone was giving out glowsticks, so that added a lot to the atmosphere.

Overheard: "If I wanted to hear a gender studies lecture, I wouldn't have dropped out of college."

"This is better than YouTube!"

Personal Bias: The art at Trunk Space was done by small children and it was awesome. My personal favorites were "NO NO MAGIC WRESTLER" and "CHARGE - MELT - LOOK AT THE FUTURE."

Pelt things at Troy Farah on the twits.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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