Indie bands rock out at Fitzgerald’s


Tax the Wolf performs on stage

Oberhofer at Ritzgerald's

Brad Oberhofer’s pink and black polka dot shirt wasn’t the only thing that was spotty last month. Indie-rock outfit Tapes n’ Tapes played the venue Fitzgerald’s with a couple of supporters and failed to make as great an impression as the other groups did.

Local Houston band Tax the Wolf kicked off the show, screeching out grainy, distorted guitar chords and solidifying the overall Spanish feel of their songs. Their set seemed to never end, a blend of anthemic songs melded together leaving the audience scarcely enough time to get ready for the next.

The next band, Oberhofer, was a refreshing youthful spin to an otherwise sober act. Following the full sound of contrasting chords and erratic drumming by Tax the Wolf came the innocent tin of a xylophone, played complimentary to soft guitar picking. Oberhofer combined nursery-rhyme like vocals with repetitive yet endearing lyrics about nothing. The “ooh”s and “ahh”s were set to a backdrop of strummy guitars and complex drums, creating a balance in which the band could be playful while maintaining that necessary indie nonchalance.

Oberhofer’s memberswere stylishly awkward, making just enough weird faces to remind the crowd that, despite the fact that they’re in a band, they were still dorks at heart. But as delicately as the band led into a specific song, like opener “AWAY FRM U,” the indie pop sound was abandonedand replaced by a more driving sound, such as in the song “Haus.”

Headlining band Tapes n’ Tapes did not live up to their general hype, despite all of the recognition and praise being given to their sophomore album The Outsider. For lack of a better description, the band ended the night with a moot performance. Charisma and stage presence were missing, and the heavy guitar played alongside no discernable rhythm was, for the most part, monotonous. The beginning drums of some songs teased the audience, building momentum for a beat that never came. Unfortunately, that same anticlimax was common that night.

Oberhofer stole the spotlight, no contest. Though Tax the Wold did their job of hyping the crowd, they lacked the clean coherence of a experienced group. And Tapes n’ Tapes was just plain boring.

Tax the Wolf
Tax the Wolf performs on stage.

I won’t be surprised when Oberhofer reaches the fame that they’re destined for, and I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket when they come back to Houston.