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Mixed bag

Five bands run the gamut of sounds and styles in an eclectic show

Shower Scum’s delightfully silly pop punk makes up one part of an eclectic bill. Photo credit: Facebook

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I've long subscribed to the belief that any given show need not have a complete unity in style or genre. Having booked a number of shows, in my time, I do know that there are some rules that you need to adhere to - at least one local act, to appease the disinterested potential attendees who won't take your word about an unfamiliar band; no more than four bands on a standard-length show; construct the order the way you'd construct a good mixtape, with indulgences allowed to ensure the local band gets seen - but the issue of having a cohesive sound for a concert is limiting and uninspired.

In truth, I tend to have a blast at shows where I don't quite know which direction the next band will head in. Knowing that every act on a bill is some variation on, say, post-punk, leads to no element of surprise, and tends to result in the greater probability of attendees already being familiar with every band featured. A night out to a show should, ideally, result in at least one new band being introduced to you. This is how knowledge and tastes expand, resulting in the melting pot of music that we enjoy today.

This week finds a show that, while not a complete scattering of styles, still shows off an unconventional bill full of weirdos. Taking place at Bob's Java Jive, the show is scattered with interesting acts. There are too many worthy bands to donate all of my space to one, so I'll highlight each participant.

The most immediately out-of-the-box band on the bill is Bog, a haltingly unique group that produces a mélange of bluegrass, doom metal, and blues. Each track takes its time to develop and grow into a staggering behemoth of slide guitar morphing into an intimidating stomp. This is all without noting the impressive harmonies that further confuse expectations when mixed with darker edges.

Photon Pharaoh is a Tacoma mainstay that surges with hardcore punk energy. They classify themselves as bubblegum thrash, which comes through in their ability to incorporate hooks into their cacophonous assault. Though they hold nothing back in their sonic attack, there's always a pleasant undertone to smooth the edges of what might otherwise be an unyielding barrage.

Knuckle Sandwich, with their lack of web presence, is an utter mystery, but they surely must be some sort of badasses capable of whooping audiences' butts. Or, you know, they could be an indie folk band with a high sense of irony. We do know that Dead Nudes is a band that favors baroque instrumentation and a fusion of New Wave and twee indie pop, creating a stew of indie tropes stretching back the past 15 years. In a good way!

Last, but not least, is Shower Scum, an all-female pop-punk band that won my heart from the first song off their recent EP, XOXOFU. Titled "Dick's," the song is a gauntlet thrown down in favor of the Seattle hamburger joint and against California's beloved In-N-Out. The joyous refrain of "Dicks!" is giddily juvenile, and that infectious glee bleeds into their other songs. Shower Scum describe themselves as a "happy mix of narcissism and insecurity," and that self-awareness lends the songs a little bit of weight, even when they're tackling silly topics.

Do these five bands sound lime each other? No. Is that necessary? Absolutely not. What matters most is vibe and the ability to bring an audience together, and it's my suspicion that these bands will take a crowd for a ride. From the intense genre-mashing of Bog to the unapologetically goofy punk of Shower Scum, this show offers a little something for everyone.

Shower Scum, w/ Bog, Photon Pharaoh and Knuckle Sandwich, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 3, $5, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.475.9843

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