Warp Records Showcase (Nice Nice and Pivot) with Special Guests (Let’s Wrestle and Titus Andronicus) @ The Black Market, El Paso, TX 03/21/10

There will always be shows packed in where there will be so much overwhelmingly good music that you wont have any idea what to do. Such was the case with the great night of music at El Paso’s own The Black Market. For the past number of years, with an effort on trying to cash in on bands passing to and from Austin for South by Southwest, promoters try to get bands to stop by since it is easily on the way. I’m not really sure how these four bands were collected under the same building but it made for an amazing night of genre-bursting music that had everyone in shock and awe the entire night.

Let's Wrestle

It all began with U.K. rockers Let’s Wrestle. Fresh off signing a major deal with Merge, the garage rockers took to the limelight drinking water with tons of lemon to soothe their aching voices. Their music was an amazing effort: energetic, blasting through the speakers and ridiculously raucous. Singer Wesley Gonzalez did his best at reaching for the high vocals but even though his voice was cracking left and right, their bassist and drummer are rocks of solid rhythm. Fresh-faced and young in every aspect, their music swelled with an intense amount of volatile vocals and explosive guitar riffs.

What definitely seemed like they could have been the highlight of the show was Titus Andronicus and their exceptional musical ability. Before the show, a few of the member sat around some of the couches at their merchandise table and humored me as I hovered over all of their music. They had both of their albums – including their latest triumph, The Monitor – available, as well as a few 7”’s and one special, tour-only 12”. Amy Klein would sit on one of the couches and cutely smile when someone approached her and asked about an album but even though I was there to hear everyone, lead singer Patrick Stickles showed up to deliver wonderful comedy interspersed between asking for a drink, speaking to fans or even, checking out Let’s Wrestle.

Titus Andronicus

If you go to their site, you can read Stickles’ entire thoughts on the first phase of their tour and you can read about how much he loved Nice Nice (more on that later) but as for his band’s own show, let’s just say that they owned it. Musicianship is always a top priority for me and this band has multitudes of it. It was amazing hearing their studio songs come to life underneath the band’s rolling energy. And everything is done with such emotion and passion that even just as a member of the audience you feel the need to jump in. Highlight of the show: singing, “You will always be a loser” about forty times straight, as loud as possible, with the band. There’s a reason why they’re one of Rolling Stone’s “Top 10 Bands of 2010.”

So Let’s Wrestle and Titus Andronicus were touring together and they met at this mashing of bands with the outstanding bands from Warp: Nice Nice and Pivot. I wish I could state just how good the former was but let me borrow a quote from Mr. Stickles own lines on the band:

If I had to pick one moment of this tour where I really achieved transcendence, though, it would have to be a few nights ago in El Paso, where we found ourselves playing second on a four band bill, after our pals Let’s Wrestle, but before this band called Nice Nice (not named after the club from the Lifter Puller mythology, I found out), who I had never heard of before. Long story short, THEY ARE FUCKING AMAZING.

Nice Nice

Truly a remarkable duo, they’re precise, flawless and even their ‘mistakes’ sound like part of the music. I’d hate to say one of these awesome bands stole the show but yeah, Nice Nice did.

Pivot

Closing out the night was UK-based but from Australia band, Pivot. The trio has been known for having a strong love for Talking Heads so there was some urge that maybe they’d rip into a live show of their music but alas, no dice. Nonetheless, their music is layered with sounds of shimmering guitar on top of the band’s intensified drumming. While electronics play a small role, their sound is obviously influenced by the romanticism of the 80s but with a much larger current riding throughout. The crowd was smaller for these guys and that was truly unfortunate; they put on an impressively musical live show – just enough to remind you that shows like these shouldn’t be so far apart.