Best Tattoo Shop

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Disappear into ‘Eleanor Rigby’

Screens: “If you’re going to start, you might as well start big,” an ambitious person once said. Ned Benson must have been paying attention, because for his first... By Cameron Meier 9/17/2014
Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013

Best Fajitas

Best of SA 2012: We wracked our brains over this one. Fajitas are pretty much all the same, no? Kinda like huevos rancheros. Our mind then drifted to a certain middle sister's wedding rehearsal... 4/25/2012

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Live & Local

Live & Local: Fear Snakeface at The White Rabbit

Photo: Photos by Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Photos by Steven Gilmore

Sid St. Onge

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photos by Steven Gilmore

Philip Luna

The two-piece rock band format didn’t start with the White Stripes or The Black Keys. Back in the late ’80s, the Flat Duo Jets were already experimenting with the guitar-drums formula, and years later Death from Above 1979 would release three EPs and a studio album with only drums and bass. But let’s face it: until recently, two-piece rock bands were a rarity. It wasn’t until Jack and Megan White made it big that legions of rock duos decided to have a go at it.

Nothing wrong with that, but most of those who can play can’t write, and vice versa. And unless the guitarist does the White thing by plugging the guitar in such a way that you can hear the bass lines, I can’t help but miss the fat sound of a four-stringer.

After a brief life as a trio, add Fear Snakeface to the roster of bands that do without the bass — whether due to laziness, practicality, or aesthetic concerns. It's a damn shame, considering they’re one of the few local acts that have the songs and the attitude to deliver dynamite albums and concerts.

Their 30-minute set Sunday at the White Rabbit (opening for the Lemonheads; yes, those Lemonheads) was a concentrated sample of what they call “hitting a cat with a bag of nails” (a figurative cat, that is, but “the nails are real”). Phillip Luna hit the snare hard and managed to always be on time even when it looked as if he was about to fall down. Guitarist Sid St. Onge offered his usual disarmingly punkish, slightly off-key DIY delivery displaying a disinterest in anything that could distract him from his direct guitar attack. Not only do these guys not use a bass, but St. Onge, unlike most guitarists, doesn’t have 18,525 pedals in front of him; he's got but two, and he uses them sparingly. They don’t mind making mistakes, either, and that’s what I love about them: they know they have the songs to get away with murder.

The pair went through five songs from their self-titled 2009 album (available on iTunes) and four unreleased tracks to be included in the new one coming up in May: “November Michigan,” “Don’t Have Fear” (a great track that begs for vocal harmonies), “Long Enough” (begs for bass), and “Sunset Down.” They dedicated the now classic “Houston Trip” to Whitney Houston, and closed the show with the even more classic “Ochy Chornya.”

Luna also played bass on the 2009 album, but for their next one we won’t even get that.

“No bass anymore,” he said after the show. “This is it. We’re a duo.”

Oh, well. I’m willing to forgive them for that, as long as they keep coming up with songs like these.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus