Rudyard’s with Bulls and the Ex-Optimists

In return for a show they did with us in Bryan almost exactly a year ago, we were supposed to jam with the Ex-Optimists this past June at the Satellite Bar.

“Wait a minute” I hear you saying. “I remember seeing the Ex-Optimists at that show but it wasn’t with you losers.”

Well that’s right buttercup, we didn’t play that show, because a certain guitar player sustained a certain injury to a certain appendage (again) and we had to drop off. But fortunately our friends in acclaimed Brooklyn noise-rock trio A Place to Bury Strangers agreed to fly in to replace us! Whatta bunch of nice guys.

(In case it’s not obvious I am joking, we were all supposed to be opening for APTBS, whom we do not know personally in any way. We heard that show was AWESOME.)

Anyhoo, long story short, we paid back the Xops folks by playing with them this past Friday at Rudz instead.



October 21, 2016: Rudyard’s (Houston) with Bulls and the Ex-Optimists

Opening up the show were Fort Worth’s Bulls. I had played with them last year during a tour with Honey & Salt, and I remembered them (and described them to Jamie) as being an instrumental post-rock band in the vein of A Minor Forest.

It turned out this was not correct at all, because they were more of a straight noise-rock band, and also not instrumental in the least!

yet another singing drummer making me look like an asshole

These guys sounded GREAT although they were certainly aided by the venue, which has some of the best house sound anywhere for my money.


Erik Westfall (of 500 Megatons of Boogie and the Squishees) noted that Bulls are a “lead drums” band- the guitar and bass are rhythm and the “melody,” such as it is, belongs to the drumset. Something that I never would have noticed since I mostly only pay attention to the drummer anyway, hahaha.

Bulls are SOLD OUT of their cassette-only EP, but you can get a download at their Bandcamp page. It gud.

The Ex-Optimists have been gigging HARD across Texas for the last 18 months or so, and it shows. This was probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen them, and the best by an order of magnitude.

Over the last year they’ve evolved from a fuzzy indie band to incorporate the syncopation and roaring distortion of a Husker Du or a Dinosaur Jr., and a pretty hefty shoegaze influence. And along the way Kelly developed into an unusually strong vocalist- he reminds me now a little bit of Robert Schneider of Apples in Stereo.

I wanted to take more pictures but there were too many people taking pictures and I got self-conscious

Their 2015 record Phantom Freight is like their third or fourth LP, but I think people are going to look back at it as a watershed moment where a group of nice folks with good taste gelled into a legitimately great band.

Unfortunately we learned later that Kelly’s delay pedal got fried by an electrical issue. Why not help soften the blow by purchasing a limited edition vinyl copy of Phantom Freight!

We played after Xops. Setlist:

Spanish Constellation
Get Your Dead Straight
Lurching Away
A Maiden Nerve
Ruined Oak
Tusk Aurora
Back Office (encore, ya really I dunno)

On Saturday Bulls and the Xops folks drove up to Hutto for something called SatelliteFest. A music festival. . . in Hutto! Will wonders never cease. Might have to check that out next year.

Thanks very much to Kelly and the Ex-Optimists for putting things together, to Bulls for making the drive, and to Stacy, Joe, Dave, Sheena and everyone at Rudz. Next show is this weekend at NO THANKS FEST 10: NO THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.


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