To a complete outsider, the name of the upcoming tour by locals Holly Hunt and Scraping Teeth, which begins Tuesday, April 10, at Churchill's, doesn't bode well. Billed as the "Worst Band in America Tour," it's a reference to a dubious nod the latter group earned from Spin magazine in 1993. Considering the band's name, plus the fact that it's led by notorious noisemaker Rat Bastard, well, that means plenty of confrontational volume and almost no concessions made to an audience hoping for melody.
Whether that makes Scraping Teeth the worst of anything or among the best of its class depends entirely on your personal tastes and pain thresholds. But the group's tourmates through this 16-day, 17-city jaunt, are the opposite of worst anything. Rather, the duo, made up of partners in crime, art, and domestic matters Gavin Perry and Betty Monteavaro, is one of the most exciting area acts going.
The group's take on droning dirge-rock is stripped down to its bare essence -- there's Perry's downtuned, circular, chugging guitar, and Monteavaro's rapid-fire, just-loose-enough drumming. Live, their sound is raw but overpowering, and Perry and Monteavaro serve as perfect performance foils. She unabashedly grins, appearing during each performance to have the time of her life. Meanwhile he usually looks to be deeply concentrating, brows furrowed, eyes on his complicated pedal board or his towering stack of amplifiers.
"As with all things creative, I try to stay in the moment. We are committed to preparation -- mental, physical, what have you," says Perry. "We are still learning each other, being aware of nuance. It's telepathic."
Though their personal connection has been going strong for some 18 years, Monteavaro and Perry have only been playing together as Holly Hunt for little over one year. Until very recently, too, the band has bubbled under the surface as both its members have focused on other creative pursuits -- both are accomplished visual artists. So the tour now is more a result of serendipity and friendship than any specific plan.
"If not now, when?" Perry muses. "Rat thought it would be cool to do a tour with Scraping Teeth and offered to book the shows. We graciously accepted his offer. We are stoked to travel."
But the tour does, in fact, signal a new burst of activity for Holly Hunt. "We maintain a strong practice and writing schedule. We are actively writing new material when we aren't prepping for shows or recording sessions," says Perry. "Holly Hunt is in its infancy, and we hope to grow with each new opportunity."
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Holly Hunt. With Scraping Teeth, 90s Teen, Normas, and Kyle Woodward. 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave., Miami. Admission is $5; age 18 and up. Click here.