Fruit Bats w/Tu Fawning @ Wow Hall

saturday, january 30th, 2010: fruit bats w/tu fawning @ wow hall – eugene, ore

i’d been an “intern” at omn for a few months and i’d scarcely written an article yet. i’d written a piece about a small band from a small town to get my foot in the door, but that was it. my editor sent out an email asking anyone if they’d be interested in covering a show at the wow hall in the next month. i scanned the list of bands and recognized one: fruit bats. at one point one of the guys from fruit bats was in the shins or something, i dont really remember or care. regardless, i figured i’d give them a try.

i snagged their most recent album and gave it a listen. it certainly wasn’t horrible, but i was immediately pissed that i had to go and pretend to care about this band.

because i was a media member i was allowed into the concert for free, something i didn’t know until after i volunteered. i was also allowed to bring someone with me, a plus one. hoping to ease my pain i extended an open invitation to all my friends: no one wanted to go.
i showed up at the wow hall early so i could catch the opening acts. one of them was a band out of portland called tu fawning. my editor urged me not to miss them: “they’re fantastic” he’d said. this was the first of about a hundred terrible recommendations i would receive from him in the following months.

tu fawning wasn’t the worst band i’d seen, but they were trying. i’ve been to enough shows to realize that rarely will you get an opening act that is little more than listenable. tu fawning wasn’t even that. now i love a good noise-pop song and i can listen to animal collective chant like their in a cave for hours on end, but tu fawning drove me out of the wow hall after a mere four songs. i walked outside, naturally it was pouring. i thought of retreating back into the wow hall, but just then someone opened the door to the stage floor and i heard tu fawning again. i walked, searching for the nearest convenience store to buy some candy or something.

what tu fawning looked like ^               what tu fawning sounded like ^

when i got back to the wow hall tu fawning had finished their set, and i walked uneasily back inside. roadies littered the stage, slowly setting up for fruit bats. i took a seat at the very back of the wow on a large wooden bench, pouting, feeling sorry for myself and wondering what in god’s name i was doing there. why? was playing over the loudspeaker, a song i recognized and enjoyed, the first of the evening. i perked up a bit, listening to yoni wolf’s voice as i waited for the roadies to finish.

when fruit bats finally took the stage, they launched into a few tracks off their latest album before playing a handful of songs i didn’t recognize. the wow hall was scarcely half-full and i kept expecting more people to show up, but they didn’t. at one point lead singer eric johnson commented on the enormity of the crowd, admitting that their last wow hall show yielded some thirty people. pathetic.

i’d guessed correctly, fruit bats were by no means bad, but they offered very little i couldn’t get from an old csn record or a new wilco record. they were energetic, but who am i kidding, most live bands are energetic. they did play a cover of neil young’s “revolution blues” that sounded better than any version neil’s done. other than that there wasn’t much to see.

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