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Gig review: Galaxy Express@Audie’s Olympic

imageThe music business is wonky. Like, one of South Korea’s top indie-rock bands comes to the United States, and because they have little name recognition, they end up playing club shows wherever they can get booked (no offense to the venue or Fresno).

For the savvy music fan, this actually works out quite well. Last night’s Galaxy Express show at Audie’s was a perfect example.

Insidethesun: Three-piece stoner rock from Fresno. Or maybe it’s doom metal. I get my sub-genres confused. It was slow and sludgy and heavy as heck. Just looking at the band’s setup (a full Marshall stack, towering bass cab), you knew it was going to get loud. Surprisingly, it was less loud than I had anticipated. That’s not a bad thing. Too many bands misuse volume anyway. For my tastes, bassist Trevor Church’s other (or maybe former) band Beastmaker, has more going on, but fans of the genre will enjoy.

Murder Park: Garth Clifton has been playing in bands since he was 15 (maybe before). He’s fronted full-throttle punk bands and done some acoustic solo stuff and ventured into this hybrid folk deal with his last band Still Stoked. In Murder Park, Clifton (backed by Janell Bowen and Lito Fernandes) has found his niche. It’s snarling and biting and edges on punk, but with none of the cliche trappings of the genre. The instrumental pieces had a Primus vibe (minus Les Claypool’s slap bass obviously).

Our set: We were not terrible. Or maybe we were. Open to comments.

Galaxy Express: Two songs in and bassist JuHyun Lee snaps a string. He yanks the thing off in one quick motion and continues pounding away, like it’s no deal and it is clear (if it wasn’t from the very first chord), these guys bring it. It being straight-ahead, up-tempo rock-and-roll that makes you want to thrash around and scream along (which is hard when the songs are in Korean). The band was originally sold to me as South Korean punk, and the guys do throw out a “punk” vibe. Whatever that means. But the music has more in common with the psychedelic madness of MC5 than the simplistic bombast of the Ramones, let’s say. Though they did play “Psycho Therapy.”

Bottom line: Booking Galaxy Express was a good get for Audie’s and a gift for anyone who made it out last night.

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