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Friday, May 20, 2011

Weekend's Big Hometown Show Wows Cool Kids, Moms at the Independent

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Weekend at the Independent last night.
  • Weekend at the Independent last night.


Clipd Beaks


May 19, 2011

@ The Independent

Better than: Melting your copy of Psychocandy with a Bic lighter.

The strange duality of Weekend's homecoming performance at the Independent became clear the moment I approached the ticket window last night. In front of me was a group of middle-aged women (accompanied by a young girl in a very small black dress). All were done up, doused in perfume, and wearing heels. "I'm on Shaun's list!" declared the petite one with cropped blond hair, ostensibly referring to Weekend lead singer Shaun Durkan.

"His mother," I thought, half-smiling. Has to be.

You don't think of the frontmen of rock bands having mothers. Let alone cute peppy mothers, who show up early for their son's performance, chatting to their son's manager about how sulky the kid gets when he doesn't get to play. But I digress.


Weekend -- a San Francisco three-piece that has recently been touring the world both on its own and with post-punk godfathers Wire -- has roots here. In fact, was the band's biggest hometown show to date. So it was unsurprising that, in addition to the mother presence, the crowd slowly thickened as the night's openers blasted and barreled through their sets. The floor, a veritable sculpture garden of cool kids, remained rigidly still save the occasional frenetic head bob.

There was a swath of skinny jeans, to be sure, but then Weekend produces a brand of post-punk that the San Francisco scenesters can get behind. It's a prime example of an artful and thoughtful evolution of the genre: The band's reverb has direction. Its blaring bass-guitar combo is backed by an unrelenting spine-of-steel drumbeat. This is noise with a purpose; it wraps itself around you like gauze (or like the opaque layer of concert smoke that filled the room before the headliner's entrance). It gives your brain a whiskey buzz. Weekend's evident skill was all the more clear after the two openers, neither of whom have managed to find a sonic arc to give their music shape.

And, as this is Weekend's home base, its fans were (almost) as thrilled to be there as its mothers were. Mixed in with the arthouse crew was a group of dolled-up girls in platform shoes, looking like they were en route to a crazy night out at Circa. "There's Shaun!" squealed one, dashing towards the stage as the band set up.

What's a homecoming without your fan club from before you were a cool indie rock band?

As Weekend tore through tracks familiar to fans (off 2010's Sports) and announced newer numbers that will be appearing on its next album, Durkan's attitude was as blasé as his unmoving crowd.

"What are you all doing Saturday," he asked, referring to the impending end of the world. "SMOKE WEED!" was the shouted reply, accompanied by a few half-hearted cheers. "Smoke weed? Really?" he said. "You don't think highly enough of yourselves." He pulled a few shuddering notes on his bass. "I'll be smoking black crayons, hardest shit there is."

There's not much else one can say to that, so instead the band members tore into another song, rainbow lights and strobes flashing around them, causing the trio onstage to occasionally disappear into the darkness.

As the crowd on the floor thickened, I spotted Durkam's mom, beaming proudly and bobbing her head to the beat. The Circa girls shimmied and shook after a surreptitious hit from a pipe. And the boys of Weekend raged on, drowning the room in noise and thrashing across the stage like they owned it.


Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I like my reverb like I like my men -- present and accounted for.

By the way: The members of Weekend have good taste. They were grubbing at Nopa before their set.


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Lauren Sloss


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