Show Review: Ne-Hi/American Wrestlers @ The Sidewinder (1/14)

Saturday night, I ventured out to The Sidewinder to catch two bands that have been all the buzz around the indie rock world as of late– Ne-Hi and American Wrestlers. What I got was proof that sometimes there’s a good reason for buzz. Both of these bands brought it hard, playing to a not nearly crowded enough venue, but throwing their whole selves into their sets. Read on for some brief thoughts about the night.

First up was another band to open the night with Commander Keen, who viciously tore through their brief set to delight all early outers to their punk rock. The music was damn loud, but it was perfect for this three piece out of Tennessee. I marveled at the drummer’s animalistic form, while digging the simple and quick tunes. The frontman of the band had effective show talk banter, not taking himself seriously and keeping things as light as they should be for the first of three bands of the night.

Next up, the room inside The Sidewinder filled up for Ne-Hi, who are coming into 2017 hot. Their easily accessible singles make for catchy scream along tunes, but their set wasn’t just light or fluffy youth like their recordings. Instead, the music listened heavier live–there was of course, vibrant energy from the young band, but it was channeled into more of a grunge rock aesthetic. The lead guitarist swung his instrument wildly around the stage, his eyes rolling back in his head as he struck the notes, somehow only knocking his mic over three times throughout the set. The whole band barely fit on the small stage, but this made their set quite interesting and fun–if not in the breezy jangly rock that I expected, then in the darker, angrier energy that the band brought.If you want a bit of a taste of what I’m talking about, then check out the track at the bottom of this review that the band just premiered yesterday.

Last up were American Wrestlers, who released their sophomore album late last year, but look like seasoned pros up on stage. Frontman Gary McClure brought his St.Louis by way of Scotland charm to the evening, and the band doled out hits from Goodbye Terrible Youth as well as their self titled debut. The whole band fed off the energy from the lead man, pounding out their own special blend of alternative rock. My favorite track of the night was “Give Up,” where the blazing guitars and quick lipped lyrics combined for a lovely jam.

The whole night was a loud and vibrant slice of music, and I’m grateful for all parties involved for bringing their tunes to the ATX.

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