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Issue 136-137 Show Revu: NEW TONGUES, EMASCULATOR, ROUGH BLUSH
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Friday July 10, 2015 Diva Haus, Columbia

Well, summer is almost at the halfway point for all intents and purposes. While the season will technically last until late September, school will start up for many in mid August (around the same time that college kids begin to head back to where they go to school to prepare for fall semester) and the dog days will begin to sap everyone's energy in the next few weeks. However, after nearly a week of almost nonstop rain it's a nice day and I have it off from work. So, after an attempt to try and get some paperwork regarding a minor medical mishap and its oppressive cost I headed out of the sticks to Columbia for a few things. After checking my mail and attending a local art show reception at Mizzou, I went off to loiter a bit, get dinner, and kill time slightly. Eventually the sweltering humidity was overtaking the calmer air and I headed over to Diva Haus early in anticipation of one of the last shows this venue will have before the lease expires and the residents head on to other things.

Rough Blush opened up the evening and decided to shake things up a bit, beginning with Rachel on drums and Shannon on bass. Working through some feedback issues through the opening song "Prove It," the band eventually rose above the squeals to deliver some bass fueled punk meets post punk that was intense and passionate as they sang of shitty dudes, life with chronic illness (and those who love people dealing with such), life, and the like. Using the humidity to their advantage, the trio unleashed a powerful set that managed to overcome the foibles of the beginning and get the crowd focused on the music. Rough Blush has emerged as one of the more interesting bands to come out of Columbia's underground in a while and though reports of members heading in different directions does raise concern, I hope if that happens that an occasional reunion happens now and again. Rachel, Shannon, and Sheena offered up a great, if not perfect, set to kick off the night.

I had little idea what to expect from Portland's Emasculator (outside of the "There Is No Gender But Your Own" banner behind the stage area) as they began to set up and play. The quartet unleashes an almost feral blend of HC punk and noise full of near total feedback guitar, white and pink noise synthesizer/samples, and a driving rhythm section to get these songs about abuse, misogyny and systemic oppression. After blowing a fuse on the first song, the band was briefly set back but threw the crowd into the deep end once the power got back up. This band's stage presence is confrontational and emotive, with a sense that anything could happen (made all the more convincing with the power outage). What emerges is one of those acts that may polarize some in the crowd but I guarantee they will not be boring. I wonder what the band will do down the road.

Then it was time for New Tongues to take over and play. After setting up, the band go tone song into their set when the power went out a second time. After a five or so minute delay the power resumed and the band tore into some aggressive noise leaning punk. Tweaked and reverbed guitar melted over a propulsive rhythm section to create some terse in your face songs that seemed to feed off the humidity of the room while sonically fueling it. Just as the show was reaching a climax, the power went out for part of the stage yet again. While things seemed uncertain in the heat, people were wondering what was ahead. It took a few more minutes but the band did get the power back up and the show rolled with the punches until the noise and sample fueled end. New Tongues was an intense sonic roller coaster throughout with a mix of tweaked heavy guitar and tight songs almost blowing out the place in eh process. Still they rode the power outages out and had the crowd in their hands when the night ended.

Then the show was over. While some people were milling about inside I went to pick up a tape or two and had to head on back to the sticks. Leaving in the Midwestern summer night, I was drained and dehydrated, hitting a gas station for a sports drink on the way back to crash. While I didn't have work until Sunday there were things I needed to get taken care of along the way. Still, I needed the escape and it was a great night. I'm going to miss Diva Haus once it's gone.
- Boone

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