Free Week Live Shots
Pi, Sun Machine, Rotten Mangos
Pi, Sun Machine, Rotten MangosBeerland, Jan. 4
After the teenage hordes of ACL Fest, prickly punks and lines at FFF Fest, and a bulging Fan Fest, the earnest grins and tumult of young locals at Beerland for Free Week felt like a respite. San Marcos garage trio Pi opened with sheer reverb, Trent Langley's vocals drowning under that and his train whistle guitar solos. Sun Machine singer Nathanael Rendon recoiled at the mic: "I need as much reverb as possible because I can't sing." Surf grooves jive with the trio's easy banter. One minute they're lost in a haze of synth and robotic pings, the next they're picking urgent riffs from the Kinks' playbook. "Buy more drinks, smoke more cigarettes," commanded Rendon. Dynamic duo Rotten Mangos, wearing matching fur-lined hats, laid it all out on the table. "We don't usually play long, so we had to make some new things," admitted Ramiro Verdooren. One song, he insisted "requires a 12-string and a kazoo." While the kazoo created the faintest possible vibration and the guitarist's fingers slipped around the frets of his shoddy axe, the crowd received it in good cheer.