Music » Critics' Picks

Hella and Yowie

Sunday, March 20; the Creepy Crawl, 412 North Tucker Boulevard


All the music theory and intellectualization in the world can't save you if your music doesn't move. You can avoid 4/4, you can ditch the bass, you can chuck standard melodic composition and the singer (please, more bands ditch the singer) and dig yourself deep into the bunker of smart. None of it means fuzz on balls if all you're making is din. The racket of your racket should not be the final product of all your research and development. Call it "forward thrust" or "progress" or "momentum" or "the beautiful journey into tonal enlightenment," but your music should always have that pulse that signals liveliness. If what you're making is an inanimate mass of noise, the only thing you can call it is boring.

Enter Yowie. Yowie brings its collective intellectual might to bear on the music -- without allowing that intellectual might to be the muscle. With two guitars and a battalion of drummers (OK, it's just one drummer, but he's really throwing hammers into the kit), Yowie has avoided the "let's make it sound like we're fighting each other for supremacy" syndrome (also known as "everybodysoloitis"), opting instead for the much rarer and infinitely more satisfying "let's build something massive out of a billion tiny parts." Then that something massive starts running, spurred forward by Jimbo and Jeremiah's interlocking guitars, then hucklebucking on the densely latticed dance floor the Defenestrator constructs on the fly from drumsticks and whiplash.

Joining Yowie for this Dance Party USA evening is Hella, which has a wind-up drum tornado of its own in Zach Hill, and a sticky-finger guitar-slinger by the name of Spencer Seim. Hella comes in like a lion and goes out like an atom bomb on the fritz, exploding in tightly compressed chain reactions. Newly buttressed by a second guitarist and a bassist, Hella may not be the same half-popcorn, half-classic-rock calliope of earlier tours. But isn't the possibility of failure more intriguing than the guarantee of boredom?

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20. Tickets are $7-$9; call 314-851-0919 for more information.

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