Quasi and Let's Wrestle at The Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY, April 22, 2009 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Quasi, Let’s Wrestle

Quasi and Let’s Wrestle at The Bowery Ballroom, New York City, NY, April 22, 2009,

May 07, 2010 Let’s Wrestle
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Let’s Wrestle is an appropriate moniker for an act seemingly in thrall to the ‘90s indie shambles and dissonance of the likes of Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, their instrumental parts and personalities clashing like battering rams. Bassist Mike Lightning played in a punchy, surging Lou Barlow-esque style while frontman Wesley Patrick Gonzalez sounded as quixotically dazed as Stephen Malkmus circa Crooked Rain in his flat, laconic intonations. Yet when the act hit an arresting pinnacle on the hyper-charged, fist-pumping “ba-ba-ba” chorus of “We Are the Men You’ll Grow to Love Soon,” you couldn’t help but bop your head in agreement with the title’s blithe sentiment.

Indie veterans Quasi took the stage next. Amazingly going on 17 years together as a band, they’ve gradually metamorphosed from a bizarrely antiquated pop aesthetic heavily reliant upon a Roxichord, which frontman Sam Coomes routinely abused during performances by doing headstands upon it, into a rollicking, near stoner jam act redolent of Pacific Northwest underground icons Dead Moon and The Wipers on their superb new album American Gong.

Their pop sensibilities are thankfully still intact, and Janet Weiss’ (Sleater-Kinney, The Jicks) drumming is even more ferocious in their mach two incarnation, locking into a groove with bassist Joanna Bolme’s (The Jicks) intuitively melodic lines. The nutmeg sweet harmonies of “It’s Raining” from 2001’s The Sword of God highlighted Coomes’ and Weiss’ innate chemistry, but it was “Bye Bye Blackbird” that illustrated what a beast they’ve become live. Six minutes on record, it was extended into a 10-minute opus of exultant, locomotive exhilaration. And at the show’s end, Coomes crashed into his keyboard full-steam ahead like he was trying to break down a brick wall, and he apparently succeeded somewhat, given the group’s thank you on their Facebook page the next day to a local music shop for successfully repairing their gear. Coomes’ body, however, may have been a different story.


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