Hideaways: New bands in strange places

The Treatment, The Stabones, and Hours on End
on Price Avenue
April 10

In Charlottesville, most venues have a set list of bands that they rotate through their weekly schedules– it's hard for new, untested acts to get a handhold in the club scene here. One way of seeing new bands is to attend parties where musical acts are scheduled to perform.

Free suds, the chance to meet a mate, and the possibility of seeing a newly formed musical movement (though the latter is more unlikely than possibility #2) are but a few of the reasons younger music aficionado should adopt "

like it's 1999" as a theme song, at least once in a while.

After some well-refereed boxing (including one round of very foxy boxing), and setting up more equipment than you see at a Kiss concert, the first band of the evening, The Treatment, went on. Made up of two guitars, bass, and drums, The Treatment describe themselves as "line-dance punk," and instrumentally their alt-rock vibe was pretty clear.

Vocally, the simple melodies injected over this new/old west background owed more to Pavement's Stephen Malkmus than Uncle Tupelo, a fact that was immediately apparent from the group's first 3/4 lullaby. "Do-do-do-do-mother-f***ers" went a lyrical selection from the group's second tune, another pop number, as the Radiohead-reminiscent lead guitar of Thomas Orgren provided background stabs and vibes.

The Stabones were on next and proved to be my favorite group of the night. Fronted by Bartley McGowan– who more or less talks in the baritone in which he sings– the group had an '80s punk/pop crossed with an early '90s ska group the Mighty Might Bosstones feel (the later comparison strengthened by McGowan's vocals). Covers such as The Misfits' "Where Eagles Dare" and original sing-along numbers peppered the Stabones' set, as McGowan dominated the band side of the room, careering back and forth with the dance-happy tunes.

Hours on End were on last, and though the crowd had thinned out, the group treated the remaining partiers to the most well-performed set of the night. Each of the group's numbers seemed to flow into the next one, and the group played for at least 30 minutes, apparently with no set list.

With a sound best described as "pop with a passion for dynamics" in the mold of '90s alternative/proto-emo group Sunny Day Real Estate, Hours on End produced a sound much bigger than might have been expected from only three members (guitar, bass, drums). Though lyrics were hard to be heard for most of the night (owing to the PA), strong melodies could be heard between the blasts of distorted guitar and cymbal crashes.

The Treatment, The Stabones, and Hours on End– possibly coming to a club near you.

The gang's all here.