Written by James Dillon
Oct 13, 2008 at 08:00 PM
ImageThis time of year is always pretty good for shows in Houston, even though this is when school tends to kick everyone’s ass, and jobs take up even more time. But only a few days after the stellar Walkmen/Young Mammals show, and only two days after the Westheimer Block Party, the David Vandervelde took the stage with Houston’s own Wild Moccasins. Not a bad show for my first time at the Mink.

For a Monday night the Mink was relatively crowded, and ready to catch the first band on the bill. The Wild Moccasins fall into the same category as The Young Mammals, as they have recently become friends of mine. But once again don’t think that will influence my review of them (I actually gave them a good review when they played with Tilly, prior to me meeting them).

Once these guys, and girl, started playing their blissful pop, which just keeps getting better and better, smiles were affixed to every face in the room. They played a few songs I had heard them play before, a couple new ones, and a couple to be on their upcoming release (which I had actually heard before, I got to sneak a listen. It’s good, you should buy it when it comes out). After playing a pretty short set that included the drummer, Andrew jumping up and down playing drums, and vocal duels between singers, the group wrapped up their set and cleared the stage for the second act of the night, Judgment Day.

Judgment Day, a string metal trio, I have to say, was one of the best surprises I have seen in quite a while. A string metal trio? Damn right. These guys were brutal. I, much like the rest of the room, was left with my jaw dropped for the entire set. Who knew that violin, drums, and cello could be so heavy? It was a no nonsense set, that also didn’t have any singing. The cello played very intricate bass lines, the violin play screaming leads, and the double bass drums kept everything tight. At one point, the violin was actually played with teeth. Pretty intense if I may say so.

The third act for the evening, and final act that I saw, was Nashville Tennessee’s David Vandervelde. I had heard a few songs from him prior to seeing him, including his cover of Okkervil River’s “Singer Songwriter” for their Stand-Ins project, but the folk songs I had expected to hear were absent. Instead it was straight rock and roll, done very well. Further proving the notion that all a band needs is guitar, bass, drums, and singing, these guys plowed through song after song. With songs like “Lying in Bed”, Vandervelde left ear drums ringing, and me wondering how just three people could sound so full. Especially with Vandervelde using auto-wah frequently and playing intricate leads.

Sadly after Vandervelde called it a night I had to do the same. One can only go out so many nights in a row, and not be exhausted on a Monday, with an early class the next day. But even though I missed the headliner, I had no complaints about the show.