I should have known something was up when a fog machine started puffing a big white haze onto the Sunset's empty dance floor last Wednesday night. The early crowd was huddled way toward the back of the bar, looking confused. As for the band, A Gun That Shoots Knives—well, the guitarist was wearing a cut-off T-shirt that said PISS, the singer was wearing lots of spandex, and the bassist was dressed in a caveman outfit.
"This has gone on for way too long," someone observed about a third of the way through their set. His sentiment was echoed in other anxious remarks from the crowd.
"We're all confused," somebody hollered. Then, when the singer wished to dedicate a song to someone if it happened to be their birthday, another audience member yelled: "No. It's no one's birthday. No one was born today."
The band then performed a song called "There for You," which involved "slapping titties all day," and another titled "Stupid Fucking Asshole." There were lyrics about how "old people suck" and a skate-punk song about how it hurts to fall down when skateboarding (I think).
But the problem was that most folks in the audience couldn't tell if A Gun That Shoots Knives were joking. Later on, however, I overheard a girl who apparently knew the guitarist tell someone: "He wears suits and ties all day, so these are his play clothes."
Aha! Dudes with day jobs playing jokey music just for the hell of it: harmless enough. And you've got to give 'em props for being brave enough to dress like that in public—and onstage, no less. But when the crowd's really there for some stoner jams from headliner Howlin Rain, you can't blame people for hollering: "We're all confused!"
Apparently, A Gun That Shoots Knives were a last-minute addition when the manager of John Brannon's bloody-throated garage-punk group, Easy Action, decided to move their show to El Corazon, fearing, ironically, that Easy Action wouldn't mesh well with the bluesy, psychedelic grooves of Howlin Rain. If only he'd seen the sweaty and bearded Rain-man Ethan Miller shredding both his throat and fretboard like some kind of hippie werewolf later that night, he might have changed his mind.
Opening Act is a weekly look at a band you didn't go to see, but saw anyway—because they played before the band you went to see (and were maybe even better).