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
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.