Friday, March 16, 2007

Blowout Finale...

Friday, March 9th 2007

I played it safe. Was only going to the K of C to see the Go. Caught a little bit of Outrageous Cherry. I've never been able to get into them and this night would prove no different. Can't put my finger on what I don't dig about it though. Might be Matt Smith's voice. Larry Ray (who can simultaneously be nicknamed Larry Cherry or Outrageous Larry) actually, I just wanted to say those nicknames. But they've got a song in the new Black Snake Moan soundtrack (a cover of Junior Kimbrough's "Lord Have Mercy on Me") and it's nice to see them get some recognition.

The Go were predictably great. They've got all their ducks in a row leading up to the release of Howl on the Haunted Beat You Ride and the live show remains stellar. While "Grow'd Up Wrong" was still missing from the set I have no further complaints. The pace and trajectory of their performance was proper…not so much reliance on songs from the first album as before. And the crowd seemed passionate…the kids up front singing along and lots of hands in the air. Multi-camera video crew scoping the whole thing for what I only assume is…uh, a future video? Rich Hansen slyly pulling down two Metro Times Blowout banners on the wall behind the band was funny, I'm sure it was all for the mise en scene, right? And toward the end of the set Rich getting worked up like he was gonna clock someone down in front, later relayed to me as "just knowing how to be intimidating." Sure Rich, whatever lets you sleep at night.

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

Tim Vulgar at Record Graveyard. I was really tempted to buy a 12" copy of Young MC's "Pick Up the Pace" hiding lonely in the racks. Hopefully it's still there…and that none of you are closeted Young MC fans hoping to beat me to the prize.

Timmy solo unaccompanied with a sappy Syd Barrett ballad was quite believable. Another song with the lyrics "This man needs his medicine, he needs it more than oxygen" is still memorable as I write about it days later. Was unsure what to expect of the band (Sean Elwood on bass, some kid named Ben on drums) but they decimated the place. Elwood had some kinda pedal that gave his rig a choice tone. And the kid Ben (from Indiana? Here for art school?) is a head-slamming skin-basher. Reminded me of early Dead Meadow, you know, before they got really into heroin. And also bit of Blue Cheer. Just heavy enough to put it beyond punk, weird enough to elevate it past psych and loosey-goosey where you smile a lot 'cause you know they're still just figuring it out themselves. Seeing bands at this stage, their first few shows, without a name even, is such an exciting treat. They ended the set with a (sort-of) cover of Radio Birdman's "Murder City Nights" and it shredded with wonderful feral abandon. Y'all need to check this out. I shouldn't have expected anything less…

A quick drive up Campau to the New Dodge for the Displays. I saw these kids at 1515 Broadway over the summer and it was cute. They covered "Steady, As She Goes" and were clearly nervous in trying to find themselves onstage. What I saw on Saturday was a completely different band. Punks were like seasoned pros, climbing on amps, not looking at their hands when they played, striking the rock poses, bantering with the crowd and whipping up a frenzy.

When bassist Andrew Hecker dipped into the crowd hollering "You never listen to a word I say" to subsequently thrust the mic into various audience members' faces for the refrain "come on baby just go away" it was innocently wild. Accosted by the mic, I did the only thing I think I do well and let out a vein-busting scream. I think it went over quite well. And ending the set by tossing 7" singles into the crowd (their debut release on the D-wrEcked-hiT label) is always a class act. These juvies became lethal in a matter of months and that is what's so exciting about young bands…the strides they can make in such a short time (essentially maturing onstage for everyone to see) are electrifying.

A quick hop over to the Holbrook CafĂ© for shits and giggles. I didn’t even know who was playing and was geeked to find it was Esquire. The club was jumping, allaying any fears set in motion there on Thursday. Esquire was alright…my problem with his live shows is that you never can hear the lyrics too well. The backing tracks do make up for it though, but where was the track with the Monks "Complication" sample? Ah well, "Brandy and Xanax" is bona fide and the upcoming single "Linda Lovelace for President" was fun.

Slumber Party followed and I only caught a song or two. It was what I'd come to expect from them, lazy songs mired in the melancholy vocal delivery. Not my bag, but kinda glad someone's doing it, you know?

Over to the Belmont and there's a crowd outside the door. Not a good sign. With the club at capacity (a first in any of my Blowout experiences of the past nine years) there were only letting one person in for every one person walking out. With no patience for such Fire Code tomfoolery, I recon 'round back and find both the back door to the patio and the door from the patio to the club wide-fucking-open. I'm not going to lie, I felt like motherfucking Magellan. Went back round front and tried to slyly tell Chris from the Terrible Twos and his girlfriend we could get in that way. But of course, I end up the Pied Piper of Hamlin with all these music-starved freaks in tow.

We all squeeze in with ease. Onstage, Lee Marvin Computer Arm are on fire. I'd only ever seen them twice before (once opening for Weird War at the Stick on a Sunday night, ie, not the right time or place) but tonight they proved to be possessed. I had no idea they drew such a crowd and no idea that crowd was so die-hard. It was packed and no one seemed to mind. With the opening vocal "WOOOOO-OOOOOOOOOHHH!" of "Spiritual Man" the room was enraptured. The snare drum was just low enough in the mix to free up the kick drum to propel the song. And that tangy guitar lick reminiscent of the Yardbirds "Heart Full of Soul" is sublime. The whoops and hollers that crescendo to the end of the song are riveting. They've got a self-released 7" that'll be available at their upcoming show at the Lager in April and I'm atwitter with anticipation.

It's a great feeling to end the weekend with.

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