I have been wanting to see this band live for almost a year but for some stupid reason I kept missing my chances. Ringo Deathstarr have suffered from constant comparison to shoegaze giants My Bloody Valentine and I highly disagree with those who consider the Austin band to be a mere knock off. Please don't get me wrong, I love MBV and Loveless will forever have a special place in my heart, but I actually think Ringo Deathstarr have things MBV has sorely lacked. Guitarist Elliot Frazier and Bassist Alex Gehring are much better vocalists in my opinion and the band is much more energetic and enthusiastic during their performances than MBV was in the late 80s/early 90s. Go ahead, hipsters, crucify me. But remember that I adore both groups.
The stages at Mohawk aren't that big and I've seen groups look uncomfortably cramped while performing there. Things weren't so bad for Ringo Deathstarr because they're just a three-piece band. The three humans occupied their obvious physical space on the stage but amplifiers filled up the rest of the room. Elliot has a bunch of beat up guitar amps while Alex has a massive, Japanese flag decorated bass stack setup. There's even a picture on their Facebook page with her perched on top of it.
The set was a good mix of songs from their first compilation, Sparkler, their full-length debut Colour Trip, and last year's Mauve. To my surprise, Elliot took over most of the vocal duties (they're split about 50/50 on their records) and sung a few tunes normally done by Alex. He pulled it off though. He cycled through four guitars, a Fender Jazzmaster, a Jaguar, a custom-made frankenguitar mash-up instrument of the previous two models and another custom-made with a headstock that's labeled "Gender Spazzmaster". The guitars have been well loved (totally beaten up and decorated with sparkly, cutesy stickers) and Elliot went wild with his tremolo arm glide guitar acrobatics. Now that's what I expect from good shoegazers.
In celebration of the international holiday that is April 20th, the band played an intentionally horrible, shrieking and hilarious cover of the Led Zeppelin classic "Black Dog" as an interuption interlude of their song "I'm So High". They did it for the lulz and I dug it.
It was a joy to finally see Ringo Deathstarr live and I actually got to meet Alex after the show. She's really cute AND cool! I made sure to spread the good word of KVRX as well. I expect to get the hearing loss condition called Tinnitis at a relatively early age but if it's great live music that causes the damage I'd say it was well worth it.