California X and Potty Mouth at BAR, New Haven

A Western Massachusetts invasion was announced on Manic Productions’ website. Two homespun superstars, California X and Potty Mouth were making the not quite two hour drive down 91 to play a free show at New Haven’s BAR. Although friends, there are not many similarities between the two bands beside location. There are obvious differences like one is an all-male quartet and the other all-female, but there are definite musical differences.

California X were on first but they seemed to be the biggest draw of the night. Their crowd screamed along with every lyric sung by guitarist, Zack–which was needed because microphone troubles made the vocals cut in and out the entire set. Luckily, the lyrics are not exactly the focus of California X. Although they sit on the border of indie rock and sludge-punk, they have a certain jam band element to them. The band only managed to squeeze five songs into their set mainly because they extended the outro of “Pond Rot” into a repetitive, slow headbanging daze.

The jam quality of California X is in direct contrast to Potty Mouth’s energetic, no frills style. Kicking off with “Wishlist,” the band blazed through their 90s-style pop punk set. Similar to the band’s previous Connecticut performance with Andrew WK, the set was derailed by primadonna behavior. Bassist Ally said that lead singer/guitarist Abby Weems’ amp sounded “crazy.” While no one in the audience seemed to notice any strange noises coming from the guitar, Ally stopped the set not once but twice. The second time she insisted on having the amp changed out. A nearly ten minute delay ensued as Abby asked in the microphone “can we borrow someone’s amp?” Finally, California X came to the rescue and swapped out the amp. By the time Potty Mouth resumed their set, there was a bit of a bad taste in everyone’s mouth especially since the new amp seemed to sound exactly the same as the last from the crowds’ perspective.

Despite the “technical difficulties,” Potty Mouth played a more than adequate set. Although the crowd didn’t seem to know every word quite like California X, headbanging and light moshing showed their appreciation of Potty Mouth. If the show were a battle of the bands, clearly the round would have gone to California X (despite their mic troubles). Luckily the two bands are friends just happy to be playing an out of state show together. The Potty Mouth girls seemed extra smiley on stage as their friends and fellow artists stood front row headbanging and being generally ridiculous. It was a nice atmosphere for an invasion.