Live Review: rubix shoes

march 23 • make.shift

The jury is still out, but it’s possible that this show suffered slightly from college students leaving town early for spring break. Nonetheless, the crowd of 25 or so people remained enthusiastic throughout all four bands’ performances.
Creech made the trek up from Seattle to open, playing a mixture of new songs and some favorites off their 2013 record Pastures. Despite some murky reverberations and off-kilter levels from the sound guy, they had people swaying too and fro with their minor-key wall of sound. They sounded a little timid playing some of their new songs, though that will surely solidify as time goes on. Actually they kind of looked timid throughout the set, eyes focused on the ground and their instruments. Still. Those feels. Later, singer Rob, could be seen in the front row, bobbing his head and dancing enthusiastically. That guy always gives good energy to the performers, kudos.
Next was Whitney Ballen. Onstage she is, if I may use the term coined by The Female Fiends’ new EP, “too shy to live.” Meek as a mouse, with a small and high pitched voice to match, she strummed softly and slowly on her electric guitar laden with tremolo and reverb. Her imaginative lyrics took the audience on a mellow journey to lands of waterfalls and rooms haunted by ghosts. Her guitar sounded excellent and her vocal control was impressive. The self-aware akwardness might have lost its charm towards the end of the set. Moments of dynamic loudness and artistic confidence were rare, but golden, and should be expanded upon. You got this, sister!
Lures was third, and they played a tightly rehearsed set of retro surf-rock. After hearing hype about this band and never having seen them, they did not disappoint. With jangly guitar drenched in reverb, upbeat drumming, and bouncing bass, Lures put their own very catchy spin on the genre. They moved quickly from song to song, playing a few covers here and there.
They charmed the Bellingham audience while remaining mysterious by rarely talking. The singer pulled off the suave frontman perfectly, with subdued vocals and effortless guitar playing. These guys might as well have just stepped out of a time machine from the 60’s.
Ending the night was Rubix Shoes, who released their EP, Explore Shapes. Their set was the opposite of Whitney Ballen: loud and bombastic. They started of their set with the more mathy songs and transitioned towards songs you could bob your head steadily to. Their songs range from guitar-delay soundscapes to pointy punk funk to math rock. The sounds that Rubix Shoes creates with their cornucopia of pedals is nothing short of amazing. And bizarre. If you’ve been to the Make.Shift in the past six months or so, then you’ve probably seen the giant, lazer-shooting galactic eyeball and the distorted geometric pattern that is painted on the wall. Rubix Shoes felt exactly like that imagery put into sound. And it was awesome. Not the most cohesive bill ever booked and not the biggest audience, but the display of talent was still appreciated by those who were there. Be sure to check out Rubix Shoes’ new EP online and look out for more shows.
-Jake Barrow