Rev Gusto Album Release @ Harling’s Upstairs
There couldn’t be a better way to spend this Saturday than watching some of the most exciting bands around kill it at Harling’s Upstairs. With talent stretching from St. Joe to Lawrence, Rev Gusto, Dreamgirl, and Toughies will surely put on a great show. Each band has its unique brand of indie pop that stretches from cool and creamy to hot and weird; having them all on the same bill will all but guarantee a night not to miss.
Toughies have a mellow vibe that they center their songs around. Part surf-rock, part meandering jam, all audio gold, the Lawrence based quartet make songs that feel slack and tense at the same time–a juxtaposition that gives the band an edge, some je ne sais quoi, that separates them from other bands in the area. Through their catchy melodies and low-tempo rhythms, their songs billow with an optimistic air. However, on closer look, Toughies seems less saccharine than their first impression. Under their mellow surface, the band has a melancholy that, like their feel, gives each song a depth, a complication that draws the listener back to their music again and again.
Likewise, St. Joseph’s Dreamgirl make songs that have a beachy-pop vibe without ever succumbing to a sweet without complication aesthetic. The band’s EP, “Illuminaughty,” bubbles with clean pop that is reminiscent of Tennis without being derivative. Perhaps, their freshness is owed to their cool self-awareness. Dreamgirl constantly flirts with the sort of glossy feelings from the days of doo-wop and bubble-gum pop while keeping their eyes on the subtle and almost ineffable. Concepts aside, the band writes some pretty solid music. Whether its the glittering guitar of “Acid Wash Ocean” or the horns of “Pretty Sexual,” Dreamgirl seems to have complete control of their sound–control that still allows their songs to surprise on fourth and fifth listens.
Kansas City music veterans, Rev Gusto, will end the night with their trademark garage pop. The band mixes the the campfire sing along feel of bands like Dr. Dog and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin with the heated urgency of The Violent Femmes and The Replacements to make music unlike any of their influences. Rev Gusto’s takes a bit from a seemingly endless supply of musical sources to make a collage of sound that features the best parts of thousands. Their melodies are catchy and complex and their instrumentals do more than their share of heavy lifting. The five piece’s released material has exhibited not only an stunning attention to craft but also a depth of potential that will have undoubtedly been tapped for their new album, Burnt Out Friends.
The show starts at 9pm and is $5. You’d be hard pressed to find a show that offered this kind of aural fireworks. Definitely not something to miss, Harling’s Upstairs will brim with some of the most exciting music being made in the area today. Rev Gusto playing new material, Toughies and Dreamgirl playing new favorites, what more could be asked for?