Brief Show Review: Dark Meat, Quiet Hooves at the Bluebird, Wednesday, May 21

I'm up to my ears in editing, so this will be brief. Last night, after people freaked out about the band's Vintage Vinyl in-store, I decided to head out to see Athens, Georgia's Dark Meat at the Bluebird.

As I was walking in from the parking lot, I heard sweet, sweet jangle wafting from the club, and I figured it was one of the groups from Athens, G-A. But no! Twas the tail-end of the Museum Mutters' set; the trio has improved so much in the last year, and are now a super-great distillation of the Replacements and early R.E.M. It's always 1986 in my world, so count that a good thing.

The next group up was Quiet Hooves --- and they were execrable. Art-damaged in the worst possible way -- warped by too much hippie-dippie art-school experimenting -- the collective sounded like a Neutral Milk Hotel cover band sight-reading In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Badly. Another friend started singing the B-52's "Butterbean," which also fit -- although that song is about a trillion times better.

Dark Meat, however, was exactly how I imagine Athens, Georgia, to be: a bunch of eager-beaver kids getting together and making a joyful noise unto the gods of cheap beer, cheap rent and warped records. There were, oh, about 17 people onstage? More? Less? I didnt count. Trombonists, multiple drummers, violinists, guitarists. The opening song had a Stonesy groove meshed with a Brian Jonestown Massacre groove -- two separate things, swear -- while the rest of the set felt alternately like: a Southern-rock, Black Sabbath, a stoner-rock marching band and a punk rock flash mob. For me, the set grew tiresome after a bit; a quavering, female singing solo sounded like Dead Can Dance sung on a pirate ship, while the dude in the crowd spraying folks with a leafblower was a bit much.

Someone described them as, "You know that part in Gremlins where they multiple when you toss water on them? This band is like what would happen if someone did that to the Sex Pistols." Brilliant, and totally a perfect description.

-- Annie Zaleski

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