|This band needs more guitars.|
After watching Gravity Feed for a while, we taxied over to the Double Wide, Deep Ellum's favorite flair-festooned, two-bar venue, where we were just in time to see Victory March, four guys nattily attired in ties and vests, finish the last few notes of their indie-rock set and file offstage. Oh well. Another time, perhaps. Next up was Forth Worth's Fate Lions!
When they began, a total of twelve people, including us and our two friends, had paid the five dollar cover to see the band. There were lots of people outside and in the other bar; possibly few were aware the set had started. R remarked that it might be a good idea for Double Wide to install some sort of neon sign in the main bar that would light up when the music started, to let otherwise distracted patrons know it was time to move next door.
The five guys --- three guitars, bass, and drum, apparently --- on stage launched into a very truncated indie rock set. After about four songs, including a nice, rather upbeat cover of the Smiths' "I Know It's Over," they said their thanks and started pulling off their instruments. Amazed that they stopped so soon, we started up a rousing chorus of "Play one more!" and, grinning, the band obliged.
At this point several more patrons had decided to file in, so now there were about 24 people watching, three or four dancing enthusiastically. When Fate Lions stopped playing the encore we'd requested, we were able to convince them, the newcomers' voices combining with our chants, to play another two or three songs.
We really enjoyed their set: rousing, jangling indie pop reminiscent of Steve Wynn or Nick Lowe, influenced by R.E.M., New Wave, and the Paisley Underground movement. The high, sort of droning nasal vocals suited the peppy, crackling guitar-heavy sound. Beyond the songs themselves, Fate Lions played with a driving, positive energy that had the audience smiling. After the second impromptu encore, our friends C and J tried to get them to play on, but by then the stage was closing and they couldn't.
In sum: Guitar-driven indie pop, clearly informed by '80s alternative scenes, but fresh and new. The opposite of shoegaze. You know that one guy in college, the one who always likes the local bands you've never heard of, the kind of guy who would have owned 10,000 vinyl albums if he'd been born fifteen years before? ...That guy really likes this band. He has good taste. You should see them.