Friday, April 29, 2005

Make a joyful noise

Had the good fortune to accompany Rebecca and Susan to an excellent rock show last night. Yup, I said it; a rock show. Don't get me wrong, I like rock and roll, but mostly I find straight up rock shows kinda... boring? Anyway, last night's festivities were quite the exception. I'm going to violate the laws of time by listing the bands in my order of preference, starting at the end of the show, jumping back to the beginning, and ending up in the middle (saving the best for last). Ready? Hang on ‘cause here we go.

The headliners of the night were the Raveonettes. I'd caught them (again with Rebecca and Susan) when they played Little Steven's Garage Rock festival last summer. Due to an incoming storm, they’d only gotten to play one song, but it was great and piqued my interest. So I was pleased to get a chance to see them again. And they did not disappoint. They're stuff is based pretty much in surf and noise, a la The Jesus and Mary Chain. Add a little Duane Eddy twang and you're getting the idea. The band was very tight and the wall of sound they generated was quite impressive. They apparently worked with Ronnie Spector on their latest album and whilst the main Ronette unfortunately did not make an appearance, she was featured on one tune (the best of the set, IMO) via the magic of DAT. The Raves are good and had me spacing to the feedback. In all, an entertaining set.

The openers were a band called The Organ. Apparently these ladies have been around since 2001, so I was surprised I'd never heard of them, given their style of music. Take equal parts The Cure and The Smiths, add a dash of Pixies, turn the blender up to 11 and viola, The Organ. Oh yeah, and please garnish with some Joy Division. It's all about the guitar tunings with this band. The similarity to Robert Smith's signature sound was incredible. Rebecca and I spent the entire set turning to each other now and then and saying, "I hear so and so". Lots of influences apparent here, but still an enthralling set; so much so that I bought their CD.

And at long last we come to my favorite band of the evening. Coming on after The Organ were The Dirt Bombs. Wow. These guys tore the roof of the place. Mixing ska, punk, and straight up crazy, this is one of the most intense bands I've EVER seen, and that covers a hell of a lot of ground. They started to play and simply did not stop except for a brief bit where the lead singer wiped himself down with a towel. These guys were like the MC5 and Bad Brains all wrapped into one and fucked up on crack. Simply amazing. Blistering songs and onstage craziness. At one point the lead guy played his guitar with his teeth and the last song ended with one of the drummers standing on his head on the bass drum. That’s right, I said ONE of the drummers. This band has TWO drummers, TWO bassists, and a lead guitarist. The sound was simply huge, but not lumbering in the least (no metal here). The entire place was jumping up and down and then roaring in the brief seconds between tunes. If you EVER have a chance to catch the mighty Dirt Bombs live, sell your mom if you have to to get a ticket. Reminded me of when I used to catch local punk shows at abandoned warehouses in Philly back in the late 80s. Awesome.

Mick of the Dirt Bombs does his Ray Charles impression

The aftereffects of last night’s show:

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
(this band is why I don’t like New Order; all hail Ian Curtis, fallen king)

The Jesus and Mary Chain - 10 Smash Hits
(as the jacket says, “7 years on the leading edge”; the Beach Boys if they were pissed and had bigger amps)

The Organ - Grab That Gun
(tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1989)

The Cure - Carnage Visors/Curiosity Anomalies
(rare live tracks 1977-1984 and the soundtrack to an animated film; best version of “In Your House” ever)


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