Warming up to Lost To Metric, Bureau, Doris Henson and Men Women and Children
J. Gordon
2/20/2006 9:09:53 AM

St. Louis’ small club, the Hi-Pointe, had never been so packed. Over the four hours of eclectic music, the crowd continuously refreshed, clearing out to a whole new group to fit the mood of the next band. First up was Lost to Metric, a local math/noise-rock band that did its magic on the youngest of the aggro-minded members of the over-21 set. Playing a short set of around five songs, the warm-up band really only had chance to do just that on this cold February Saturday evening. Next, local band, the Bureau (formerly The Bureau of Sabotage), took hold of that dirty, bumper-stickered, beer-slackened stage from there. The Bureau clearly believes in the same fury and energy of the first band, but they added a few scattered melodies and a throbbing bass line to open up the accessibility to the now more post-punk group.

Come 11 p.m., Kansas City neighbors, Doris Henson, took over. Playing with perhaps more energy than we’d ever seen them before (as openers for Trail of the Dead and Billy Corgan last year), the sheer fun of these guys shredded the aggressive vein that had previously run through the night. Frontman Matthew Dunehoo, a little longer of hair than when we’d seen him last, pulled out all the stops; doing his best Angus Young impersonation of rocking his guitar like a jackhammer, and working that infectious little-boy grin he’s got to its fullest potential of naughtiness. Performing (surprise!) mostly new stuff we hadn’t heard before, the band proved their growth; stretching into some punk and older-rock territories not seen on the first two albums. The best of the older tunes were also included in the almost forty-minute set that sped by far too quickly. Now, the room surged forward, people began to dance and sing along with their great tracks like “Side-Stepping,” “A Dark Time for the Light Side of the Earth,” and of course, clapping for “The Most”—the best and most energetic closer since the door slam. Fill-in guitarist Duane Trower, who’s recently stepped in for the now departed Jamie Zoeller, filled the bill perfectly, mastering even the same tone. Rumor has it that some significant indie labels have their eyes and ears on Doris Henson as their label, DeSoto, has folded.

When headliners, Men, Women and Children [Warner Bros.] took the stage, the mood shifted again. With former members of Glassjaw --one with St. Louis roots-- the crowd suddenly looked older, tougher, and just as ready to do some serious drinking and maybe start a fight outside as enjoy an evening of music. The band installed their own light show over that usually hard to see, shotgun-stage, and the Hi-Pointe became a miniature freakin’ Savvis Center. With bubbles, a disco beat and piercing (and occasionally painful) vocals, aggression was back with the strangest mix of music ever. Those without the musical breadth to stretch across several musical genres might not have had the endurance to last through all four diverse bands, and most didn’t. But chances are, you had a good time trying, and so many bodies in such a small room guaranteed, at the least, warmth and fun on a cold February night.

Photo: Matt Dunehoo live, from www.dorishenson.com


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