Miniature Tigers brings just the right mix of 80s spice to the indie rock recipe. Their music moves people on the dance floor and invigorates the soul. Rick Shaier’s sweet synths float like clouds and Algernon Quaishe’s groovy guitar drips like rain, underlying the contradictory nature of their music – making dark and depressing lyrics fun with bright and happy music. The highlight of the evening was their jam Used To Be The Shit.
I could not stop smiling or dancing my ass off for the entirety of the show. The dance floor even got a little moshy. The Halfways drummer Everett Bergstedt and I caused enough ruckus in the crowd that frontman Charlie Brand had to remind us we weren’t at a metal show. Charlie could have made a career in comedy if he wasn’t so occupied with channeling his zany energy into thrilling riffs and sardonic lyrics. Ever the showman, he spent what felt like half of the show in the crowd whipping us into a frenzy.
Not to sound like a broken record, but Charlie Brand is a masterful showman. After guitarist Quaishe teased that it was Brand’s birthday, he led the crowd in chorus after chorus of a song we all know by heart. He drew the Halfway’s guitarist David Rowlinson onstage to do Metallica imitations. Charlie talked about his time living in Austin and played us a song from the period, because if there’s one thing that Austinites love it’s music made here. When they stepped off after their set the cries of ENCORE could be heard up and down Sixth Street. They saved their best song for the encore – absolutely killing Cannibal Queen.
Opening for them were local band the Halfways and their tourmates Sam Turner and the Cactus Cats. The Halfways, a labor of passionate love fronted by haunting guitarist Daniel Fernandez, offered a dose of psychedelic rock to get the show going. They were named one of do512’s Bands You Should Be Listening To and Compose Yourself endorses that accolade. Their sonic soundscapes are emotionally riveting and plain fun to experience.
They started off with a few hits from their upcoming album, which has a release party at the Mohawk on the 24th. I Don’t Know How To Say No sounds the way a hallway looks on acid. Their other single What You Fear (Is All You See) runs range from east to west, blending Oriental elements with a Seattle grunge aesthetic. An always evolving band, their performance on Thursday felt more focused than times I have seen them in the past.
What You Fear (Is All You See) by The Halfways
Sam Turner and the Cactus Cats
Sam Turner and the Cactus Cats were a group of soulful good ol’ boys. They’re a honky tonk’s wet dream. Sam Turner’s voice was incredibly powerful, he held the mic at a distance and belted about the depth of his love with everything he had. Their music was folkier than the other acts and added great texture to the evening lineup.
Catch Miniature Tigers and Sam Turner in Houston Sunday night or the Halfways at their album release party February 24nd at the Mohawk.