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Sharlie, others play basement show

Teens meet in U-district basement for Halloween eve concert

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Junior Avery Davis rings the doorbell of the small U-District house. Eiseley Reavis, a sophomore at Roosevelt who has volunteered his house up for the show tonight, opens the door and welcomes us inside.

The walls are littered with various bills from School of Rock, the music school Reavis attends. Around the room, a few posters labeled “RULES” are taped up that say, basically, don’t be rude or break anything.

After Reavis shows us around, he and Davis get to work setting up for the evening’s event: a punk concert.

Avery Davis (11) plays a synth and vocoder solo on his Kaossilator.

Jackson Croy
Avery Davis (11) plays a synth and vocoder solo on his Kaossilator.

Four bands will play tonight: Sharlie (including Davis and seniors Percy Boyle and Tillman Giebel), Party Shark, Wicked Hippie (formerly Health Plan, Eiseley Reavis’ band) and Gutterslut. The doors open and the basement fills up shortly, just before Sharlie’s 7 o’clock set.

While we wait for Boyle and Giebel to arrive with their gear, Davis cuts off the legs of some grey jeans to complete his “sexy cop” costume. With Halloween just hours away, it was enough of an excuse to dress up for the attendees and performers tonight.

Forty-five minutes to the show, Boyle and Giebel are the only performers not yet here. Even still, the basement starts to fill up. Davis points out to me that “there are 130 people R.S.V.P.’d as ‘yes’ on Facebook, and the basement is filling up with just 15. We’ll see how it goes.”

At 6:50 p.m., ten minutes to showtime, Boyle and Giebel show up. They quickly set up and soundcheck. Almost before they’re done, people start to flow in, and the basement packs quickly.

Gutterslut guitarist Tubby Gee plays a distorted solo over Tommy Vargas’ basslines and vocals and Will Power’s crash-heavy drum beats. Gutterslut’s crowd shifts from high schoolers to college kids as they close out the night.

Jackson Croy
Gutterslut guitarist Tubby Gee plays a distorted solo over Tommy Vargas’ basslines and vocals and Will Power’s crash-heavy drum beats. Gutterslut’s crowd shifts from high schoolers to college kids as they close out the night.

“I hope no one has epilepsy,” Davis says, turning on a strobe light without waiting for a reply. He turns to Reavis for some last-minute rule updates.

“Everything is good if everything is chill, and piss in the yard if you have to,” Reavis says. With this, the show begins.

Sharlie starts off the set hard and fast. Their bass-heavy experimental punk style can almost be tasted in the air as Davis’ screamed vocals bite the ear. After the first song, Davis turns to Giebel and says, “make it bassier.” Giebel fumbles with some knobs on the bass amp that’s taking up half the room, and Davis turns to the crowd and says, “we’re cooking with gas now, baby.”

Following Sharlie is Party Shark, a blues-melody fueled punk band, of which all four members are completely charming. At one point in the set, guitarist Emmett Heffernan knocked over his amp, and played through the song anyway.

After Party Shark, Wicked Hippie went on stage. Wicked Hippie is grungy, grimy and great. Singer Sam Ashkenazy drones out Kurt Cobain-style vocals and shreds his guitar. Reavis rips fat bass lines, even soloing when they throwback to their Health Plan days. Drummer Gabe Rodriguez holds down the count even after losing a stick in one song.

After that, there’s a break in the music as Gutterslut prepares to play. Tommy Vargas walks downstairs, giggling, wearing a “Donnie Darko” mask over his painted white face.

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Jackson Croy Avery Davis (11) and Tillman Giebel (12) shred the stage on their song “Ruiner.” Sharlie’s hardcore-punk style really shines through on this fast, bass-fueled song.

“Last November, Tommy’s lifelong friend died of a heroin overdose,” Gutterslut drummer Will Power says. “It had been a dream of the two of them to start this band, Gutterslut. When his friend died, Tommy began to ask around, and he found us. It was a big wake up call for him, he didn’t want to turn out like his friend had, and he saw himself headed down that road.”

Repeatedly throughout his set, Vargas banged his head on the cymbal while thrashing, and it seems not to phase him at all.

Jackson Croy
Repeatedly throughout his set, Vargas banged his head on the cymbal while thrashing, and it seems not to phase him at all.

The crowd quiets down as Gutterslut begins. It starts with Vargas, haphazardly playing his bass as Power crashes on the drums. He leans in to the mic to sing, and upon realizing that it was broken, screams his lyrics instead, managing not to be drowned out by the deafening guitar, bass and drums.

They wrap up their set a few songs later, fake blood covering them and any audience member closer to them than 10 feet, which was mostly everyone in Reavis’ tiny basement.

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