DELICATE STEVE + MEATBODIES + JJUUJJUU @ THE TERAGRAM BALLROOM
Photos by Eduardo Luis Words by Zach Bilson
Whether or not you’ve seen guitar impresario Delicate Steve live, if you’ve heard even one track, you know you’re in for some fun. Steve Marion is on his third record of freewheeling instrumental virtuosity (the ANTI- released This is Steve), and he brought his band to The Teragram Ballroom for the kind of guitar-worship spectacle usually reserved for a Jeff Beck or a Steve Vai. That isn’t to say Marion & co. sound anything like either of those – drummer Max Jaffe and bassist Jessica Pavone kept psych-pop grooves like “Animals” and “Winners” strictly in outer space, while Marion and co-guitarist Jon Wiley busted out power-pop licks that would give Weezer a run for their money. But at the center was Steve himself, all smiles, shimmies, and shreds. And as if to prove his music’s universal appeal, he brought onstage a gaggle of grade-schoolers from the audience – all wearing homemade Delicate Steve t-shirts – to have them explain how they ended up at a rock show so far past their bedtime. (If you’re wondering, they searched “cartoon rock” for a history class and found his song of the same name.) And then, as if it weren’t adorable enough already, Marion had them lead the crowd in a jump-and-clap routine to “Flying High.” If only every all-ages show was this fun.
Meatbodies got people moving with a heavy-duty set of doomy garage rock. Bandleader Chad Ubovich (Fuzz/Mikal Cronin) riffed and incanted on top of the band’s “metal on molly” assault, while Kevin Boog and Patrick Nolan chugged along through “The Burning Fields” and “Disciples.” With a hefty SXSW schedule under their belts and an excellent new record freshly out Alice, on In The Red, Meatbodies will undoubtedly be back around soon.
Also recently back home from Austin (as well as the Desert Daze Caravan tour), local faves JJUUJJUU provided a short-but-sweet opening set. Their head-trip grooves and shapeshifting drones set an ominous pace for the evening, with frontman Phil Pirrone’s wails drenched in echo and feedback.