Monday, March 28, 2011

Teens Get Rowdy at VAC

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Teens onstage at VAC
A good band name is a thesis for the band. Boise quartet Teens, certainly live up to their name, both by their raw percussive exuberance and developmental status.

Like many bands in the early throes of banddom, Teens picked something to model themselves after and went for it full bore: in this case, slightly surfy 1960s garage rock in the style of The Sonics, The 13th Floor Elevators or ? and the Mysterians. Teens' guitars twang, their vocals growl and their songs never last more than two minutes. With an upside-down strat, treble cranked up on a tiny amp, an onstage Hula-hooper and psychedelic porn projected on the backdrop during their show at VAC, Teens were going all out trying to evoke the popular memes of the style—which was something of a failing. That era's garage rock and surf is already well-mined material subject to several revivals, so Teens aren't really breaking new ground with their style choices or their personal approach to it.

It doesn't help that the stylistic looseness and relative simplicity of the arrangements smacked more of amateurishness than deliberate musical choices. The drummer lagged for much of the show and dropped the beat altogether several times during fills. Despite one guitarist having nine pedals at his disposal, the tone remained grating and devoid of balanced frequencies for the bulk of the performance.

But what Teens have that others don't is a copious dose of moxie. Their set started with a loudly shouted "One, two, three, four," from an airborne guitarist and they didn't let up at all for the duration of their set. Both guitarists and the bass player bounced and stomped on every beat and shouted every garbled atonal word with the giddy glee that adults too often forget exists and the current musical paradigm rarely bothers with.

None of the songs they played that night were particularly memorable, and the band still has a ways to go with their arrangements and the tightness of their delivery. But what else would you expect from Teens?

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