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On Friday night at Springwater, Matt Sullivan was on hand to cheerfully answer fans' and well-wishers' most pressing question: Yes, he really is moving to Alaska. With that out of the way, the crowd could enjoy the farewell performance of his band, German Castro. A sizeable audience had gathered by 11, and seemed enthusiastic about Kintaro, a postpunk band fronted by former Meemaw man Wes Traylor, whom one audience member compared to Screeching Weasel.
But the night was really about Castro: "You're about to witness the culmination of my career," Sullivan announced. He and drummer Paul McCaige took the stage around midnight, and launched into a crushingly loud jam built up of percussion and Sullivan's fuzzed-out bass. Castro plays metal-influenced noise rock, similar to Lightning Bolt or The Pink and Brown. The songs were built around catchy riffs, and their tricky time and tempo changes prompted Sullivan to introduce one number, "BeastRider," as "a song that we're gonna fuck up." (We didn't notice any mistakes.)
We were impressed by McCaige's technically proficient, powerful drumming, and tasteful (in a balls-out way) fills, as well as Sullivan's playing. Our companion noted of Sullivan that "he can just play a bass and it sounds like a full metal band."
At the end of one song, Sullivan declared, "Do you know how hard that fucking song is? We practiced it three times today." By that point fans were headbanging in the front row. The bar was full-ish of dudes in hats and black T-shirts, as well as a few ladies in more diverse attire. (We are sad to report that, in keeping with recent trends, many of them were wearing backpacks.) A friendly audience heckled the band; Sullivan responded to a request to take off his pants by noting that "I'm busy playing bass and screaming for you fucking people." After another song: "You're ruining the culmination of my career." "What career?" came the reply.
He announced the next song title as "Paul's Vagina Is Bleeding From the Knife Wound of My Penis," a disturbing but thought-provoking image. "It's a salsa," he added. Subsequently, local indie musician Jasmin Kaset joined him onstage for a more melodic offering. They both put on straw cowboy hats and played a noisy cover of Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," reminding us that "the big dog will fight when you rattle his cage."
Another friend of the band, Wes Lewis, made an unplanned cameo to scream along to the band's penultimate song. Then the show ended; the audience was contented, and we were more convinced than ever that the band's dispersal will be a loss for our music scene.