Words By Morgan Fecto, Photos By Clarissa Villondo
Theme of the night: caring deeply about not caring…or, not caring about caring deeply? It was probably a bit of both, but however you slice it, Twin Peaks and Eagulls played a great show at Rock & Roll Hotel, misunderstood in its own time by its own audience.
Twin Peaks is a band with an iconic namesake, but they don’t really give a Log Lady, and the appropriation doesn’t stop there. From truly elevated Chicago Bulls logos on their t-shirts, to frontman Cadien Lake James’ unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and baseball cap combo a la Mac Demarco, to guitarist Clay Frankel’s Presleyan pelvic thrusts, these guys live to sponge-up the emblematic…and to make kickass garage rock…and to rile up an inappropriately calm audience.
It was a sparse, polite crowd, content with sweatless dancing, but Frankel invaded our space like a middle-schooler hanging outside of Spencer’s Gifts with a blossoming sense of himself. He jumped into the crowd, sprinkled water on it, and jutted his guitar-clad crotch into one girl’s face (even Elvis saved that for post-show.) His shenanigans incited a frenzied, albeit short-lived, mosh among three underaged lasses, but could not impress the handful of cranky wallflowers sipping beer and waiting for their girlfriends. Did I mention that Twin Peaks doesn’t care? “Thanks for coming out. You guys are always the shit,” said James with Svenonian-confidence. “We’ll play two more of our hits for you guys.” Self-assured? Maybe, but the Chicago based 20-year-olds sounded incredible (like The Crickets if they smoked a lot of weed and played from inside a conch shell) while playing songs from Sunken and Wild Onion, due out August 5.
Whether or not they noticed (or cared,) Twin Peaks played for a crowd twice its actual size with chops twice the band’s actual age. Ah, to be young… and brilliant…and know it.
Eagulls has a profound connection to ballsacks , rotting pig brains, and Bill Murray, but not to their audience. If Twin Peaks played the Jimmy Fallon equivalent of a punk show, laughing at themselves, looking at their audience for confirmation, then the Leeds-based fivesome played like Simon Pegg (and it doesn’t hurt that bassist Tom Kelly looks like Nick Frost). They delivered their 12-song set dryly, but phenomenally, and without checking if their audience got the punchline. Frontman George Mitchell, a Skarsgard lookalike in dadcore, was completely absorbed in each song, concerned less with the lethargic crowd than with singing, and looking like a hypnotized neo-nazi with one arm.
I had been forewarned about the inevitable pit that would ensue with Eagulls’ set, but they had an opiate effect on the crowd. Most danced by themselves and stared at Mitchell entranced, including Twin Peaks’ Frankel, who stood noiselessly next to me for almost the whole set and drummed the air with clenched fists.
To the chagrin of the tank-top clad kid behind me and to the joy of my unbruised body, there was no mosh at Twin Peaks and Eagulls last Wednesday, although there was no shortage of triumphant punk, unique stage personas, and general not giving a fuck.