Stegosaurus? Album Release Extravaganza

On Saturday night at YuYinTang the local band Stegosaurus? remedied the dramatic lack of dinosaur and zombie related music in this town. Baby #13, Dragon Pizza, Rainbow Danger Club, and Boys Climbing Ropes all performed brief sets to support Stegosaurus?’ first album release.  Also at the show? Pizza!  But this is no culinary zine, so we’ll be talking about the tunes.

I got to the venue a little late for pizza, but in time to catch Baby #13, a melodic rock band.  The lead singer had a strong voice and was not afraid to use it, even shouting some of her angrier lines, and it was great to see them incorporate an electric cello into their lineup.  I took home their Suddenly Alone EP and have been enjoying its angsty-ness for a few days.

Next up came Dragon Pizza, a brash thrashing punk band.  I knew we were in for it when the band took to the stage having already removed their shirts. Good thing they weren’t too sweaty. Yet. The band bopped their jagged way through a slew of frenetic numbers, whaling, screaming and smashing. We might have gotten to see them for the last time in a while, though, because one of the members has taken another gig as a Japanese Pavilion Expo Mercenary. That’s a shame because this band seems incapable of putting on a boring show.

Rainbow Danger club came out with fists swinging, or rather, drumsticks and violin bows. The bassist and guitarist used drumsticks to turn their instruments into something more guttural and percussive.  The technique complimented the experimental rock well, and our illustrious editor gave it a name: “Stick-core. Or stick-wave? No, stick-core.”  The guest-trumpet player contributed a mellow brassy sound to the guitar distortion and another dimension to the sound.

Although it’s only been a month or so since I last saw Boys Climbing Ropes (opening for St. Vincent during the JUE Festival), but in that short time they have gained an incredible amount of confidence.  It’s interesting to note the contrast in the show even as the songs remain the same.  Last time lead singer Xiao Pengke stood with hands on hips, eyes closed, with a fiery yet self-contained presence.  Now she’s all over the place, jumping around and rocking the keys, and vocally stronger than ever.  The rest of the band is pure energy as well, and bassist Morgan Short is sporting a new sexy beard.  The band uses some sound samples to augment the sound, and I did hear some critique that it cut down on the spontaneity of the music.  I, however, do like the bigger and more layered sound the samples allow.

Finally the belle of the ball, Stegosaurus?, came up to the stage, complete with costumes and Astro-man plastic bow and arrows.  Their set was solid and fun, starting with their own ode to themselves, “Stegosaurus? National Anthem”, a Red Hot Chili Peppers-ish jangly hip hop tune.  The songs’ subject matter is always handled pretty lightly, ranging from the perils of learning English to a dog that ran away to Batman.  The song “Brains” had our Chilean matriarch and I collapsing into a fit of giggles at the repeated refrain “WEEE WAAANT BRAAAINS/ AAAALLL YOOURRR BRAAIINS!”.  As it should be, really.

Stegosaurus? chugged through a solid set and maintained high energy throughout, with the help of their lead vocalist/hype man Joseph.  The audience was still calling out for more at the end of the set, despite the fact that the band had run through all of their prepared songs. We’re still waiting for an encore, gentlemen.

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