Attacking the Beat
by Eric Lastname
I think the Hunches are the greatest band in the
world. If you disagree, you are wrong. Their singles
are tops, their album's a beast, their demos are gold
and their live show, no matter what anyone else says,
is more intense, more frantic and more explosive than
anyone else's right now.
I've personally seen them dominate two multiple-band
fest-things in the past year or so. First one was the
last Chicago Blackout; second one was the In the Red
showcase at SXSW this past March.
Austin is a funny town. Funny and hot. And, like
most collegiate towns, full of bullshit, full of false
buzz. The great thing about the Hunches is that they
still seem to thrive in this environment, because it
takes them approximately half a second to destroy it
and make it their own: an unhealthy, contemptuous
landscape, a strong vibe of discontent therein.
They opened the floodgates with "Static Disaster." It
occurred unpredictably. A massive, dark, foreboding
figure took the stage, inconspicuously at first. Just
himself. Few knew what was happening. Barmaids and
scenesters and scenemakers and etc., backs to the
front, talked amongst themselves, unaware of the
ruckus that would occur in the moment following. The
figure yelped incomprehensible incantations as the
rest of the band took stage and tore into the opening
chords. They forced the beat upon the crowd, who now
Before the first chrorus, they had steamrolled the
stage into a ruin of cords, a web of black, piles of
finished and full drink, cig butts, litter, moving,
always moving, unfettered by their own
self-destructive explosions, above and beyond the
crowd's now apparent insanity, guitarist Chris and
vocalist Hart slicing through each others'
epileptic fits and temper tantrums with an incisive
element of musical tautness that seemed supernatural
for a band of such frenetic live activity. Bassist
Sarah off to the side, almost impervious to the
spectacle that occurred just feet away from her,
banging a throbbing pulse with both arms on guit and
feet on floor. Ben behind the skins, powerhouse all
the way, elbows up, solidly bashing primal thump.
As they continued on, Hart hit the floor. He lay
offstage, blurting and bleating in tongues. The crowd
tried to pull him up. He didn't want it. He wouldn't
have it. It was his sick joke. Arms tensed as they
tried lifting his tall frame, and he resisted,
smirking 'neath it all. Continued to writhe between
dirty sneaks and polished boots. The people would not
have their way. He would stay down.
Chris periodically lunged about with the guit, pulling
vaguely eerie VU-meets-Suicide-via-Pussy-Galore
patterns out of his instrument. Someone threw a can,
which connected with his face, and he charged,
screamed one helluva battle cry, thrusted the neck of
his six-string into the muck of warm bodies that lay
before him. He didn't miss ONE FUGGIN' NOTE. It was
I had to leave a girl outside of the club. The thing
in polka-dots with an ass and tits and a smile. She
did not seem important as this.
The Hunches' new tunes -- which comprised most of
their set -- are just as good as the old ones, if not
much better. They carry with them the expected
trademark stampings of the band: beautiful, brutal and
fierce guit-pickings; caveman thump on bass and drums;
throat-slit vox; recalled visions of latter-day
Scientists drone, Pagans-brand gutter rock, Electric
Eel insanity, Jesus and Mary Chain melancholy. And
Half Japanese: As I later heard, they'd charged
through a Half Japanese cover. (I couldn't tell.)
Their as-yet-unreleased material proved that the
Hunches are still able to manuever from hate-filled
scree to lovelorn trajectory with minimal effort. In
fact, they make it look very easy, but they also make
it look very painful, very brutal. Sincerity can do
After their set, I ran into Chris, who asked me: "Did
you like the new songs?" Yes, I did. A whole lot. I
was exhausted, very intoxicated, heavy in my
sweat-drenched clothes. But I loved the new songs. I
loved this band. They spoiled me, made me hate all
I looked to his left. Polka-dots.
"I got in," she said.
"You're too late," I said.
She smiled, nodded. "Let's go, then. I know a
We missed the Reigning Sound, but after Hunches, I'm
not so sure I would've needed it. Anything else
would've seemed tame by comparison.
1854 N. Cambridge Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
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