Friday, April 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 129



'College Night' bags Groceries in plastic

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, Houston.

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 tone.

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
emaciated self-worth.

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
gregarious minstrels.

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 restlessness.

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 reverb.

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 in place.

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 local venue.

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