From Shoegaze to Hard Rock: A Great Wednesday Night at August Hall with Taipei Houston, Narrow Head, and White Reaper

Event Date: 
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 8:00pm
White Reaper

Last Wednesday, the 22nd of February, I arrived at August Hall for the White Reaper show, with Taipei Houston and Narrow Head opening. This was my first time attending a show as a member of KALX and I wanted to do my due diligence, so I showed up almost an hour early which in retrospect was probably overkill. I had just recently signed up to cover this show, so I prepared myself by listening to a couple of the top songs from each band that was going to perform. I was not disappointed.

I stood there towards the front of the venue, trying to get in a good spot to take a couple of pictures, when I noticed a man next to me holding a couple of vinyls he had bought from the merch tables. I struck up a conversation with him and he gave me a little background on Taipei Houston; before they started playing, he briefly explained how the two sons of Metallica’s drummer had formed a two person bass and drum rock duo called Taipei Houston.

The best way I could describe Taipei Houston would be frenetic. They instantly captured my attention with the immediate intensity of their music. With vocals and basslines reminiscent of the White Stripes and Zach Hill-style drumming, I was enthralled. At multiple points during the show, Myles (the drummer) stood up in order to more aggressively hit his snare drum. Their set ended with a hard rock version of The Beatles’ classic Eleanor Rigby that weaved in and out of the original melody into more abstract musical forays.

At the end of the set I turned around and saw that the venue was nearly full. Narrow Head, a hard rock band formed in Texas, took the stage next. 

As soon as they started playing I felt like I melted into the wall of sound that came crashing over me

. Their sound is definitely shoegaze-esque but that didn’t stop people from moshing. At one point, the lead singer Jacob Duarte, asked the crowd to open up the pit. It was the most relaxed music that I have ever moshed to but it was still a great time. I noticed similarities between their music and popular 90s shoegaze acts like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins, but their sound was unique and I couldn’t definitively tie them to one genre.

The headliner for the night was White Reaper, a punk band from Louisville Kentucky whorecently released their album, Asking For A Ride. I had listened to a couple of the tracks on their new album maybe once or twice on the drive over to San Francisco, and they were already stuck in my head. Their music is insanely catchy with pop-punky hooks that you can’t shake off. They sounded almost exactly the same as on the record which was the first thing that really stuck out to me. I would describe their 

sound as almost pop/skate punk but still contemporary. They brought energy that the crowd matched and played a great set. 

I left the show with ringing ears (don’t forget to bring your ear plugs if you see these bands live) and a desire to listen to more of every band that I saw that night! August Hall was an excellent venue and I can’t wait to go back!