Just before the Austin, TX natives of grunge rock trio Ringo Deathstarr started a set at Shea Stadium, guitarist Alex Gehring asked the audio engineer to put “a lot of reverb” on her microphone. Combined with the DIY venue’s already questionable acoustics, Gehring was all but unintelligible throughout the performance. Bandmate Elliott Frazier’s vocals were only slightly easier to make out; most of the sound came from Daniel Coborn’s loud, punchy drumset. As a result, the songs were sometimes indistinguishable and at times Ringo Deathstarr sounded more like noise instead of lo-fi garage rock.
As far as the band was concerned, the hour-long set was lively from beginning to end—especially considering the band members had done a photo shoot for High Times magazine earlier that day. Ringo Deathstarr interacted well with each other and with the crowd: when Frazier wasn’t noodling out a fuzzy solo, headbanging to Colborn’s beats, or leaning in to shout something towards Gehring’s ear, he crashed into the crowd with his guitar. Gehring, dressed in a long checkered dress and looking something like grunge Anne Hathaway at a rural liberal arts college, also performed a few tricks with her bass, switching between different guitars and closing out the show by playing behind her head and then heaving the guitar to retire on the floor.
Ringo Deathstarr’s show lived up to the band’s grungey sound. The low-energy audience, perhaps worn out from waiting for the band’s late set, mostly bobbed their bodies, lounged on Shea Stadium’s couches, or drank outside on the porch while pressing their faces against the windows to peek in. Guys shuffled around in plaid shirts, zoning out on the band before returning to the crowd on the deck. Their apparent apathy, however, was a front: just as Deathstarr was ready to pack it in for the night, the group consented to the audience’s requests to play one more song. After closing out with “Do It Every Time,” Frazier told the crowd he and his bandmates were getting off stage to let everyone go to bed. The crowd responded with boos.
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