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Nightmom Louis Family Restaurant Providence, RI Saturday Aug 30, 2014 Reviewed



The hours of 5 AM – 3 PM are long gone, and the door to Brown University’s beloved diner is still wide open. A suspended John Deere bicycle stares down nostalgically at those who approach the one-of-a-kind establishment, though it appears that a broom rear-ended the bike while its attention was diverted for guard duty. Directly above the doorway, two flamingos are locked in a standstill, a duel that may have been decades in the making atop the memory machine that is the Louis Family Restaurant.

The eccentric blaze of the building’s exterior is the only facade that could accomodate the innumerable wonders within, where dresses valued at a dollar are advertised for thirty-nine cents, a gilded cherub plays Atlas with an expired bees nest, and Batman exhorts you to order the pancakes, all while staring across the room at a green sign over the door reading “COLLEGE UNBOUND”.

In an instant, an inexorable roar is unleashed from inside of the restaurant. The college types present exemplify the array of attire options available to the independent music adherent, and it appears that many from the crowd are matriculees of the Rhode Island School of Design. Arms weave expressively through the air, to compensate for the fact that the diner is so crowded that the true intensity of dancing that Nightmom’s blooming distortion cue elicited is not easily accomplished. As is characteristic of many of the vivid, trance-like tracks in Nightmom’s catalogue, the first song of the set began with a slumberous guitar opening, establishing the kind of gentle fingerstyle groove that defines the glider game. The entrance of the drums shifted the track into full form, producing the aforementioned roar that brought the crowd to life. Nodding to keep time, Travis’s pulsing and Nick’s spiraling noggin together summed up the delicate counterpoint of Nightmom’s total whirligig fury.

“Big thanks to D major. All these songs are in D major.”

Like much of the other ‘mom material in the set, “Domino”, the first song of the band’s teaser single for the upcoming album, was taken far beyond the tempo of the recording. The vocals kept pace in high speed bursts, Nick buzzing with a fervor that is not evident in any of Nightmom’s current offerings on bandcamp. The track lead immediately into the cool restraint of “Nobody’s King”, a turning point in the audience’s physical response to the set. Push came to shove, and the compelling power of the song’s midnight thud coalesced in an ecstatic activity center, a supremely enthusiastic moshpit at the center of the room. Later on came “Sister’s Cool”, the climax of Nick’s vintage noodling, again at a speed that surpassed any reasonable estimate based on the band’s sweetheart debut tape. As the speed accumulated, Nick stomped on one of his pedals and the guitar shorted out. Silence, save Travis’s goodhearted comment to the effect of, “oops.” Nick adjusts, and counts a second time, right from the transition moment where the tech malfunction occurred. The tempo is the previous rattlesnake tantivy on overdrive, a 33 played at riot RPM. A crowd surfer rides the tsunami in the cramped room, where heads are at various stages of up and down, bobbing with conviction. Nightmom’s live offering is incomparable, the entire nostalgia circuit of a tour channeled into a scaled-down, rusted sunburst guitar, a giant hero modestly hulking over it, and his friend the beat-keeper, smiling constantly. In the Louis Family Restaurant, the responsiveness was complete from all members of the audience — Elvis, an alien, and the American Dream put to good use among them. The perceived duality of punk and love disappeared before my eyes, and the two were together at last.

The show at Louis Family Restaurant was the culmination of Nightmom’s first national tour. On the road for 30 days, the band traveled some 9000 miles to promote Glider Heaven, their second full-length, the photo for the cover of which Travis found in an old copy of National Geographic. Long live Glider Love.

Nick Gomez-Hall guitar/vox

Travis Lloyd -drums/vox

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