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Curtis Cartier goes native with local indie acts Hod Hulphurs and Mylo Jenkins and gets acquainted with Washington state's Polka Dot Dot Dots.

By Curtis Cartier

With Mūz's home team, the Arizona Cardinals, having clinched its first-ever Super Bowl berth hours beforehand in a game that saw a grown man shed tears, it was unlikely that anything could have put a damper on our sky-high spirits last Sunday. So it was with the cockiest of shit-eating grins that I watched three wildly different indie folk acts at the Crepe Place that night.

The evening began with news that a tragedy, details of which were fuzzy, had delayed the opening band's arrival. While the hipsters trickled in, local singer/songwriter and last-minute lineup addition, And Hod, a.k.a. Hod Hulphers, kept them appeased with his brand of croaking folk. Armed with only a guitar and a few tightly wrenched vocal cords, Hulphers barked and whispered his way through a set of heartfelt numbers. And though it appeared he was enjoying the solo spotlight, he revealed later that the performance was paid in ransom for a missing feline.

"They're holding my cat hostage, man," Hulphers joked from beside the bar. "I had to play tonight."

Polka Dot Dot Dot arrived shortly after in a flurry of sweater vests and summer dresses, out of breath and only slightly late. But as soon as the Olympia, Wash.-based trio began its first song, a rowdy melody of foot stomps, hand-claps and schoolyard rhymes, it quickly became obvious that the performance was well worth the wait. Like a silent movie score heard through a tin can telephone, the Dots' sound was a truly unique childlike serenade that drew a raucous response from the crowd and earned loud demands for an encore. Midway through the set, singer Onyx of Olympia shared a personal moment and explained why the band had been delayed.

"As some of you may have heard, my grandmother just passed away," she said, with only a slight shake to her voice. "My Grandma Mary was always the one with the most fashion sense in the family. I remember her saying to us not too long ago, 'Everybody better wear something classy to my funeral. I don't care about speeches or anything, just no jeans and no showing midriffs.'"

Mylo Jenkins took the headlining spot onstage around 11pm with a heap of props and condolences to the previous act. J.J. McCabe and Dustin St. Wright, two of the local indie community's biggest movers and shakers, led this band of bar-stool bards that's known for inducing fits of pint-raising and chorus-chanting. Fresh from producing countless tracks for a myriad of Santa Cruz bands at the nonprofit Dead Cow Music Studio (the crew has its fingers deep in dozens of locally baked music pies), the boys showed they've got what it takes as they brought down the house with their own trademark folk anthems. Before taking his place as washboard-rubber and backup singer, St. Wright told Mūz about a new way to turn unqualified drunks into bona fide musicians.

"I want to plant musicians in the audience and hand out percussion instruments during the show," he explained while penciling out possible titles for the act. "I'm thinking I call it the Tavern Revival Act."

"Good name," I thought. Almost as good as "NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals."

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