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Are we not men? We are Stylex at the Fuze Box.

photo: Joe Putrock

Can You Hear Me Now?
By Shawn Stone

Stylex, Amazing Plaid, Kitty Little
Fuze Box, Jan. 10

The latest installment in the continuing Monday program of interesting music at the Fuze Box featured Akron, Ohio’s geek-rockers Stylex. Before commenting on the music itself, a few words on the club.

Anyone else notice that the Fuze Box is starting to take on the characteristics of QE2 again? Gothic iron (cemetery?) gates adorn the sound platform and hang precariously above the front of the stage; what looks like a gargoyle skeleton has appeared on the east wall. Plus, like QE2 once did, it has an amazingly talented bartender; at one point Monday night, she stood on the bar and mixed a drink while working a Hoola-Hoop. It’s creepy, like in Roman Polanski’s film The Tenant. Maybe they need a priest.

Now for the show. Stylex were great. Their hard-driving pop-punk is accented with just enough electronic noodling to be entertaining, but not so much that it distracts from their excellent songs. Band members leapt from the stage, spiraled down onto the floor, tossed their instruments around and never missed a beat.

I’d like to say more about them, but the god-awful sound mix buried the lead guitar and erased the lead singer. (Great rhythm section, though.) Dear sound person: Thanks a lot.

Kitty Little are back with a new drummer and an altered sound. There are traces of their former sugar-
sweetness and pop stylings, but these don’t seem to be the band’s guiding musical ideal anymore. The sound is harder—much harder—and Matto’s vocals seemed more angry than plaintive. That said, Matto and bassist Jesse Pellerin seemed as happy and carefree as ever on “stage.” (Both KL and Amazing Plaid played on the floor; Stylex used the stage exclusively.)

How much harder? One song borrowed its intro from Led-freaking-
Zeppelin. How angry? I thought his voice would crack. Or maybe it was the stomach aliments Matto alluded to in his between-song patter. Who knows.

Whatever the reason for the change, and even if the sugar content is reduced by 30 percent, Kitty Little remain perfectly swell.

As for the Amazing Plaid, this was only their second full-band show in a year. Their Friday (Jan. 7) gig at Valentine’s generated much positive buzz, and this appearance only served to reinforce it. Tom Wilk and company were ferocious, throttling every ounce of energy out of their thundering, dissonant prog-like sound.

Tara Needham opened the evening with a brief set of four well-crafted songs. The former Brooklynite has a CD in the works; it will be worth waiting for.



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