'College Night' bags Groceries
By Chris Goodier
Daily Cougar Staff
Offers of free art, food and live music
lured students to Wednesday's "College Night" at the Museum of Fine Arts,
Overseeing the turnout was the brooding
and perplexed face of a third-century edifice as patrons washed down neatly
arranged sandwiches with their
gourmet coffee staple.
How fitting that the white statue be titled
"Sarcophagus of a Youth," the pale structure matching the crowd's defeated
The setting of the event was surreal; a
brilliantly lit gallery of the spacious Audrey Jones Beck building was
contrasted by the attendees' weary slouch of
While finger-food chatter asserted flaccid
comments like, "I don't consider myself a post-modernist. I'm more a post-structuralist
...," the feature band,
Groceries, slowly tuned its instruments
with the lazy saunter of a portly traffic cop.
By the time the quartet finally geared
up and decided on a set list, only a small but brave handful of individuals
dared show interest by approaching the
Groceries churned out well-written, though
poorly executed, tension-filled indie rock. This first set briefly quelled
the timidity of gathering resale shop
jerseys and Converse All-Stars. But even
Groceries adopted apathy from the stage, succumbing to a relapse of evaporated
Spaces between songs grew with a swelling
disgust evident on band members' faces that seemed to ask, "What are we
doing here?" Practices under
the cover of a garage have been better
rehearsed. To Groceries' credit, noise limitations visibly restricted onstage
communication, and the sheer size
of the venue plagued the band with overwhelming
But mounting microphone complaints with
sarcastic commentary ironically enhanced the band's position in the shadow
of "Portrait Figure of a Youth,"
a headless quadriplegic hopelessly running
Looking past the doldrums, cynicism and
technical setbacks, listeners witnessed Pavement-style dissonance, but
with more ambitious arrangements
than the indie predecessors. Swift key
changes and evolving time patterns garnered an aural magnetism. Even the
more hardcore pieces of the
second set were nearly cliché-less.
For the most part, though, "College Night"
was a skeletal representation of what Groceries seems capable of. Had it
tried harder, perhaps the band
could have surmounted the unenthusiastic
melancholia of emo hipsters.
But on Wednesday, Groceries willingly passed
on this opportunity while blemishing a well-planned and philanthropic event.
Future "College Nights" at
the MFAH will hopefully attract a more
diverse group of students, individuals willing to disregard peripherals
for the sake of fun.
Groceries will play May 17 at an undisclosed