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Neon Reverb Thursday: Leslie’s journal

Leslie Ventura

I showed up at the Bunkhouse earlier than ever for the first night of Neon Reverb to see Weatherbox, a pop-punk band out of San Diego. I saw the guys perform last year at Yayo Taco, and they reminded me of a louder version of The Weakerthans. Local band Caravels also had nothing but good things to say about them, so I made sure to get to the bar early to catch the show.

Weatherbox took to the stage only 30 minutes behind schedule, an impressive feat for the first night of Neon Reverb. Fans of older Saves the Day (whether they admit it or not), would relate to Weatherbox’s emotional vocals, which start out soft and somber then burst with pure agony. Weatherbox relies on the give and take of its guitarists, allowing slow pop melodies to grow and building anticipation until the noise spills over into moments of loud, aggressive poppy punk perfection. The guys played a few new songs; crowd favorite “Trippin’ the Life Fantastic” was saved for the end.

My primary excitement was for Black Camaro, a Vegas band I was turned onto a year ago through a friend and dedicated Camarican. Watching the guys onstage is like seeing T. Rex, The Beatles and The Beach Boys do battle. Having turned 21 recently, this was my first chance to see Black Camaro live, and they mainly played songs I knew, like “Calypso,” “The Dawn’s Early Light” and “Miniature Panthers.” The highlights of the performance: two guitar solos by Brian Garth, and percussionist Al Norris’ minute-long bongo session. No need for a vacation this spring break. These guys already transported me to Kokomo and back.

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