Sensory Overload: Cheater Slicks, Thunder Thighs and more help Used Kids break in new stage

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

By Andy Downing

Used Kids celebrated the completion of a new stage and an upgrade to its in-store sound equipment with a daylong concert featuring local acts that ranged from rowdy (garage-punk trio Cheater Slicks) to reserved (the comparatively insular, indie-folk stylings of Thunder Thighs).

The Three Speeds, essentially the remnants of the Planktones, kicked off the action at the campus institution, blasting through a rough and tumble performance that actually featured two speeds (before playing the sole slow number the band members joked of having a strict one-ballad-per-set limit). Cheater Slicks followed with an equally tumultuous turn built around the dueling guitars of Dave and Tom Shannon, which functioned like in-ring opponents, circling carefully before lunging forward with a hail of barbed body blows. Tom shared vocal duties with pugnacious drummer Dana Hatch, who tended to take lead on the trio’s more caustic tunes.

While ear-splitting rock dominated the afternoon, things quieted significantly moving into early evening, with stripped-down turns from Old Hundred (performing here as a duo) and Thunder Thighs, the nom de rock of Sally Louise Polk, who was supported on a handful of songs by a backing vocalist.

“I’ve been here a thousand times before,” Old Hundred frontman Blake Skidmore sang in a honeyed rasp at the onset of the duo’s performance — a line that could have been spoken by the myriad revelers browsing the shop’s well-curated vinyl selection. Backed by guitarist Hal Hixson, who shaded the songs with nervy electronic textures, Skidmore strummed an acoustic and delivered mournful lines steeped in heartache, regret and loss. “You told me to stop loving you,” he sang on one dark, wintry tune illuminated by little more than the light of the moon.

Thunder Thighs, in turn, kicked off her set singing of daybreak, utilizing a loop pedal to craft an intricate backdrop of guitar, violin and clipped vocal samples. At times, the songs tread similarly weighty ground (one particularly moving tune addressed the difficulty of repressing one’s sexuality), but everything was undercut with a sense things do get better with time. “I am so much stronger than you will ever know,” Polk sang on the set-closing number. Based on the power of this performance, she left little room for doubt.