Driving home from a really tremendous rock show is an adrenaline-fueled bummer for me. I am so hopped up on the rocky goodness that I can fairly stay strapped into my Honda, buzzing with all of the things I want to pour out into this blog—and knowing damn well that I won’t, because I can’t. Because the saddest truism for a writer like me is that I cannot find the words to say why I love the music that I love. The emotion does not easily translate to the written word, nor does the giddiness, the sore glutes that come from rocking out as violently as is possible on a barstool, the can’t-hardly-wait anticipation of “OH MY GOD THAT SONG IS AMAZING WHEN ARE THEY GOING TO RELEASE IT?!” Punctuation is so cumbersome to the 14-year-old I become in the wake of a show like the one Apes of Wrath played on October 9th at Tin Can Alehouse in San Diego.
The venue, bless it’s heart, was as nondescript and tiny as one could imagine, and my companion assured me the sound was atrocious. I myself do not really care about stuff like bass levels or other minutiae of audio amplification, as those things have never stopped me from getting my face rocked off. Going to the women’s restroom necessitates stepping almost right onto the stage, or at least the invisible border that delineates the stage from the regular old floor. Opening acts the Sunday Times and the Howls put on energetic and entertaining sets, especially the latter, who handed out burned copies of their homemade CD with their website name written in Marks-a-Lot. The music reminded me of early Wilco, and the singer was sort of like Whiskeytown era-Ryan Adams (but without the crazy). I especially dug the song “Dead Men Tell No Lies”. The adorable factor went through the roof when the singer announced that this was their first show since their drummer turned 21. (Adorable to me, anyway, since 99% of the crowd wasn’t far ahead of him.)
Apes of Wrath are a San Diego band who put out a wee gem of an EP in 2007 called Plastic, Fake & Frozen that really blew my hair back after I bought it at one of their Casbah shows. It was this really manic pop that reminded me of early Oingo Boingo and had great lyrics like “I wear purple in the sun now / Cos it doesn’t retain too much heat”. Months later, I still haven’t removed it from my car stereo, and after the Tin Can Alehouse show, I officially declared Apes my New Favorite Band. They didn’t play even one song off that EP, and therefore not one song that I knew, which usually bums me out to no end. That’s the mark of true musical love for me—if the words “This is a new one off our upcoming CD” don’t send me running for a bathroom break. I can’t wait to see them again. For all those reasons that I can’t describe, and all those feelings that I can’t put into words.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.