Sensory Overload: Tight Bros

From the August 16, 2012 edition

We’re far enough past the heyday of Olympia party punk band Tight Bros From Way Back When that they basically qualify as a band from way back when — 11 years since their last LP, to be exact. So naming your band Tight Bros isn’t likely to cause too much confusion these days.

In fact, in the case of the Columbus punk lifers who chose that moniker, it’s more likely to lend clarity. When you call yourselves Tight Bros, people show up expecting the playful camaraderie of good friends having a great time. And that’s exactly what they delivered Monday at Carabar.

Fortunately, the band members weren’t the only ones having fun; singer-guitarist Troy Allen (New Creases, Heath Deadger, etc.) has been doing this too well for too long to deliver anything less than stellar songwriting sure to sweep up nearby humans with a pulse.

Tight Bros practice a brand of pop-punk they call “Ramonescore,” which absolutely fits. They bound through simple pop songs with harmonized vocals, gang shouts and tempos fit for autobahn cruising. The more they accelerate, the greater their esprit de corps.

The concert Monday was a welcome-home ordeal to cap off two weeks of touring that stretched from New York down to Texas. It was bassist Shane Natalie’s birthday, and apparently Allen’s girlfriend’s birthday too, so the mood was extra celebratory. (Like, “two shots right before you strum your first note” celebratory.)

That called for a special birthday song midway through. “People have birthdays; it happens,” Allen said. “We wrote a song about everybody’s birthdays.” It was a highlight: a single chord bashed steadily and incessantly, each measure an occasion to count off another year, all the way up to 25. Eventually some satisfying evolution of “Happy Birthday” sprouted on the end for good measure.

The songs weren’t all so funny, but the same spirit infected the rest, even as they veered from standard pop-punk chord changes into more dissonant territory, not really plowing new territory yet brimming with the freedom of creation. Besides being tight relationally and tight metaphysically (“Tight, bros!”), they held it together effortlessly.

It’s immensely satisfying to go see a band that takes its craft seriously but does not take itself seriously. This is that band.