Svetlana, Rivulets, CAT-A-TAC

Radio Radio

Friday, Jan. 13

Under the guise of the “Shoegaze” genre, three bands met at Radio Radio to put on a $5 show that, frankly, would have been more worth the money without the second act.

Indianapolis band Svetlana opened the night with a six-song set that included tunes such as “Starlight” and “Information Sharing.” As usual, Gwenn Hermann’s voice weaved in and out of others’ vocals, especially on “Venus,” and this made the set. The group was a solid pick for the show in general, but Hermann’s voice always takes the cake, in any of her many projects.

Svetlana says on their website that they play live “not very often … a handful of dates per year,” and this is true. They are one of the relatively successful bands in Indianapolis who appear to be very picky about when and where they will play and with whom. In this case, playing with other like-genre bands seemed to be a good move. Shoegaze has a tendency to drag and sound boring next to, say, a hard or high energy rock group. Their pickiness is wise; they sounded spectacular in the right setting.

When the Rivulets made their way to the stage, I overheard a man say they were “typical, Shoegazing pedal twiddlers,” and this wasn’t an inaccurate description. They were by far the low point of the evening. To be fair, the group had difficulty with the sound system before their set. But when the set actually began it went from apparently unintentional noise to intentional noise. At one point, a man across the room shouted out for the “Sound Marshal.”

Colorado’s CAT-A-TAC finished the evening with a set that was not quite as good as Svetlana’s, but far superior to the Rivulets. To say the group is Shoegaze would be false. They are certainly inspired by the genre, but they are actually more stripped down, basic rock. They had moments and guitar riffs that reminded me of Tom Petty or The Rolling Stones, and would make a good addition to Bloomington’s WTTS play list. The drums were strong and consistent, but the vocals were not fantastic, but they sufficed for the brand of music they were playing.

Five bucks is pretty cheap for a good show, and the price was certainly worth it, but the audience would have been better served if the show had been an hour shorter, without the memory of “Shoegazing pedal twiddlers” hanging in the back of its mind.

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