Fresh off the release of their latest album Moments of Clarity, Narrow Head roused Granada Theater out of the mid-week slump this past Wednesday. The Houston-based shoegazers were second on the bill, sandwiched between the energetic two-piece outfit Taipei Houston and electric pop punks White Reaper. Tasked with the onus of the middle slot, Narrow Head very easily could have fallen into the trap of losing the audience’s attention. Unsurprisingly, though, they refused to let this happen. The band brought a mature perspective to the show, distinguishing themselves from the rest of the lineup with brooding songs that invited angst rather than exuberance.

The set kicked off with “Caroline,” one of the well-received singles from Moments of Clarity. It was a welcome introduction that immediately told the audience this is a showcase for the new songs. Throughout the show, there was almost zero interaction between the band onstage; each member seemed fixated on his own instrument, and any moment not spent playing it would have been moment wasted. The sweat from the drummer’s hat and the frontman’s forehead dripped at a constant rate, keeping time with the relentless kick drum.

Despite the lack of verbal communication onstage, it was clear the band were acutely aware of each other. They didn’t need to interact to gauge how they were doing–they knew they were solid. Even when one of the guitarists experienced some technical difficulties spanning two and a half songs, he was more or less on his own. He fumbled with pedals and switched guitars as the set pushed on, and he was able to get himself back on track just in time for a solo.

As much as I love the Granada, I don’t think it affords the best crowd experience for bands like Narrow Head. The tiered floor is great for getting a good view, but it also severely limits pit formation. The band’s more aggressive songs, such as “Gearhead,” riled the audience up, but there wasn’t really anywhere for the energy to be released. The pit was confined to the lowest level closest to the stage which was a bit of a shame, because I know if the same song was performed somewhere like Trees, the entire building would have been trembling.

Fortunately, the final song more than made up for any technical difficulties or pit deterrents. Narrow Head ended the set with “Fine Day,” another track from the new album that cements the band’s triumph. They occupied the entire stage, forming an impenetrable line that matched the wall of sound wailing from their instruments. I had an overwhelming emotional reaction as the song ended which I was not expecting at all; it was one of those moments where I realized the song I hadn’t paid much attention to is actually the best one on the record, and it’s been stuck in my head since. Narrow Head’s music is like quicksand, it stops you in your tracks and inevitably pulls you in.

Narrow Head is returning to Texas this April to headline a handful of shows in celebration of their album release. If you have the opportunity to catch them in Dallas, don’t miss it. I bought my ticket before sitting down to write this, and I’m already counting down the days until I can hear them live again.


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