Show Review: Royal Headache @ Red 7

Royal HeadacheMonday nights are usually reserved for tame evenings at home, but with Australia’s Royal Headache blowing into town, there would be no such night.  We were treated to their set, as well as that of local favorites Jonly Bonly and semi-locals, Bad Sports.

Read on for words and photos from B. Gray. 

It says a lot that a band can pack a venue full of people on just a handful of Austin performances, or just one Austin performance, really. Just after 9, people filled in, and lucky they were, as I think Jonly Bonly was the overall winner of the group.  Disclaimer: I like these guys as people too.  But, in the last year, since the release of their album Put Together, the band have only grown to impress me more and more. The majority of their album tracks, save one or two, roll around the 2 minute mark.  It was the perfect blend of Jason Smith’s excellent guitar playing with hints of mod and punk.  Still, as the band have evolved and grown more comfortable, they’ve opened up that sound, allowing for a little “jamming” if you will.  Some moments they go off on an explorative riff, Smith soloing, bassist Steven bobbing his head all over, and then they pull it back in, closing the song in a tight-knit fashion.  Honestly, upon reflection, their set was the most complete set of the evening.

They were followed by Bad Sports, who have released several really enjoyable albums of rock n’ roll tunes.  The group is also fronted by two fairly dynamic rockers in Orville Neely (OBN IIIs) and Daniel Fried (Radioactivity/Video).  But, on this night, I felt like they were a little bit tame.  The songs are clearly there, and you should get your hands on them for sure, but they seemed stretched then.  Their dynamism wasn’t on display as it has been in the past, but I’d rather chock it up to a case of the Mondays.

Finally, Royal Headache was back! I loved their first album, and their new record High has garnered a lot of praise (P4K gave it an 8.0 today as I write this). The first time I caught them, I was amazed at the performance. Shogun stalked the stage like a madman fueled by ADHD; he never seemed to stop moving.  Last night, this was much the same case, though I sort of felt like he was the only one up their giving the performance; his bandmates at times looked a little disinterested, and almost bored of his showmanship (which I was not).  Also, their set played a little bit harder, a little bit more on the punk rock side of things.  One of my favorite aspects of the group is their ability to blend soulful moments into their tracks, and it seemed like Shogun was intent on delivering a heavier version…at least last night. Still, the songs are incredible, and the new record deserves all it’s praise.  Be sure to pick it up from What’s Your Rupture.

All in all it was a night filled with great songs, which ultimately is the most important thing. I’m grateful to that, and always grateful to see so many people out on a Monday night.

Photoguy notes: Love you Red7, #defendredriver

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