Disco HospitalBeerland, Jan. 18
Begun last June as an outlet for Austin's mushrooming ranks of post-punk and No Wave devotees -- i.e., people too cool to walk like an Egyptian at Elysium's more Top 40-friendly Eighties-fest next door -- Beerland's Disco Hospital finally came into its own on Sunday. In stark contrast to weeks past, the cozy Red River room filled up early and stayed that way. No doubt this sudden surge of interest sprang from the scheduled appearance of Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, but the amount of heat stirred up recently by simpatico bands such as This Microwave World, A Tiger Named Lovesick, Single Frame, and I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness can't be overlooked. After all, Disco Hospital is in part the brainchild of TMW's Sean O'Neal, who followed recent L.A. émigré DJ Pandora on the turntables as the crowd filed in. As advertised, Daniel took the stage around 11:30pm, armed with only a hollow-body guitar and his trusty boom box/drum machine. Mindful of his surroundings, he tossed in a Julian Cope cover about halfway through but otherwise stuck to crowd-pleasers like "Sound Exchange," "Car Radio," and "The Way We Get By," delivering all with his trademark melodic terseness. Almost immediately after the whispery strains of "Paper Tiger" faded away, Pack of Lies was ready for action. Playing their very first gig, the fivepiece featuring former Chosen Darkness singer/guitarist Jason McNeely and A Tiger Named Lovesick's rhythm section kept the mood, if not the melody, aloft with a gauzy half-hour of sprawling basslines and spidery guitar figures, dreamlike textures that brought to mind a silhouetted candle flickering on a window shade. Topping off the night was Trail of Dead's Jason Reece under the nom de
DJ Fuckysuk, indulging his twin passions for booty-loosening bass and Japanese kitsch. No one seemed in a hurry to leave, illustrating a point Daniel could testify to firsthand: If you wait long enough for the kids to come out, eventually they will.