Free Week ended its first half in an acid haze at Mohawk, but first up sidled Residual Kid, a local power trio whose collective age hits 40. One wonders if the youngsters' penchant for noisy grunge pop reflects their parents' record collections rather than their own, but there's no denying their skill at mangling their instruments unself-consciously. Residual Kid means it, so crowd comments on the order of, "Oh, they're so adorable," seemed unfair. Despite a name with two Pink Floyd references and a Syd Barrett cover, Obscured by Echoes (formerly the Hi-Tones) had more in common with Eighties psych icons Rain Parade or Plasticland than the original Sixties inspirations. The melodramatic paisley underground pop of "Hatchet Man" and "Living Social" benefits from strong melodies, screwdriver-tight ensemble playing, and charismatic point man Johnny Flores. It's florid and frankly fantastic. With Residual Kid's Ben Redman timekeeping, the Boxing Lesson sparked even brighter. Ignoring the cold emptiness of space for the busy bits that house comets, meteor showers, and supernovas, the Austin trio's cosmic synths, rocket rhythms, and planet-fall riffing produced an acid star bright enough to be seen across galaxies. Previewing songs from the Chris "Frenchie" Smith-produced LP Big Hits, the Boxing Lesson set the silver machine for the heart of the sun. Fresh quintet Deep Space closed with an earthy psych sound more in the realm of hometown heroes the Black Angels. The band doesn't really have the songcraft yet, but leader Robbie D. Love's full-body axe-wielding generates enough excitement to justify waiting until it does.
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