Archive for September, 2010
A few months ago, local musician/artist/stained glass revisionist/good guy, Davey Hooligan and I were sitting at the bar in Sluggos waiting for a show to begin when all of a sudden….out of nowhere….we started talking about……music. We talked about some crazy stuff and some crazy people, but one of the most interesting things I remember from our conversation was his statement that Bloomington, Indiana is now the home to an exploding punk scene.
And just a few months later, one Bloomington outfit and another band representing Austin, Texas brought their tour to the stage of Sluggos in Pensacola, Florida for a diverse mix of Russian surf music Texas cooked punk and local genre exploding hip hop lyricism.
“Crisis Hotlines” started the night with fast songs and quick-witted banter with the audience. Carried by Dave (bass) and Rhett (drums), lead singer/guitarist Cory seemed to have just as much fun talking with the audience as they did playing for them. The set finished on a serious note as Dave organized a group hug with audience and band members to share his wish that everyone keep a close friend who was involved in an accident in their thoughts and prayers.
Following the Austin trio were Bloomington’s very own, “Moscow, Moscow, Moscow.” Dressed in red, white, and black themed attire replete with white sunglasses and matching ushankas, the Indiana duo cranked out a set of USSR inspired surf music. Think Dick Dale and Stalin with a healthy sense of humor. While “Red Sonja” fired away lyrics on her microphone and commandeered superior control over her tank-beast Rickenbacker guitar, drummer, “Dennis The Red Menace” pummeled away at his kit. In the style of true rock n roll performers of the past, The Red Menace would give a brief (yet loud) introduction to every song they played that night. The Cold War has officially left the building.
To put a wild exclamation point to the night, the show concluded with Pensacola’s own Paul the P Funk Fresh and his crazy rapping talents. Having seen Paul perform in “The Preemies” in the early part of the millennium, I was well aware of his entertainment skill. In an audience where the women outnumbered the guys by, at least 4 to 1, Paul knew how to deliver the goods with his own brand of charm, insane humor and flow.
- Michael L. Smith
From the beginning of human existence, people got together to play music; In the 18th century, it was common for small groups of people to get together and play chamber music. English composer, Richard Walthew defined chamber music as “music of friends” and that is exactly went down at this year’s Cover Band show at Sluggo’s in Pensacola, Florida.
Organized by Crystal Tremer and Aaron Finlay, the atmosphere for the show was intimate and very friendly. A wide range of artists and bands were covered from Madonna, Mob and Queen. The biggest buzz of the night had to be generated by three performances in particular….Etta James and Band, Dinosaur, Jr. and Iggy & The Stooges.
With a full band including drums, keyboard, guitarist, bassist, back up singers, and a violinist, The Etta James set was a scorcher that had the audience dancing and sweating. Basically, if you didn’t move during those three songs, you would have been declared dead.
The Dinosaur, Jr. came to a crazy finale’ when the band played their third song and was preparing to get off stage. The audience demanded that they play one more song and with permission granted, they launched into Dinosaur, Jr.’s cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.”
By this time, the full night of music had pushed the clock to well past 2am and there was only one band left….Iggy & The Stooges. Complete with wig, guitarist and xylophone player, the Iggy and the Stooges set took an already explosive crowd and threw more gasoline on the night. Closing out with “I wanna Be Your Dog” the night came to a fun and rowdy conclusion. I cannot wait to see the next cover band show!
Tags: aaron finlay, bottled water, brandon warren, brett favre, deadbroke rekerds, FELLOW PROJECT, florida, gio lugo, GO SELL DRUGS, henry rollins, IMAGINARY AIRSHOW, mike ness, new york, pensacola, POST PUNK, punk, rock, sean peterson, sluggo's vegetarian restaurant, summer tour, todd vilardi, WILL GIBSON
This year, Deadbroke Rekerds’ recording artists, Fellow Project and Go Sell Drugs (Brooklyn) embarked on a Summer tour of the East Coast which landed them firmly on stage at Sluggo’s Vegetarian Restaurant sharing a bill with Will Gibson and Imaginary Airshow.
The first act of the night was Will Gibson, a local musician, who set up the night with a mellow acoustic set highlighted by a song he wrote for his mother.
Following on stage, were the rhythmic pulses of Fellow Project from Long Island, New York. Ryan (drums) and Tia’s (bass) driving rhythm section gets the balls of your feet locked and jumpin’, while Joe’s catchy single note phrases latch onto your brain and compels you to ping-ping your head around like the silver balls in the pinball machines I used to play as a kid. Ryan and Tia (married to each other) have a crazy musical chemistry onstage with his energy almost exploding to surface while she wields her bass (that is literally almost as tall as her) like a toothpick during their set. I only wish their set was longer.
Now, if you sat down on my couch and I told you to close your eyes and visualize true working class hardrock or punk, I bet you the boys of Go Sell Drugs would jump in your skull and burn a hole in your occipital cortex. GSD from Brooklyn, New York are for real. Lead singer and guitarist, Tony has all of the presence of tortured Social Distortion frontman, Mike Ness with the fire grilled vocals of Henry Rollins. Bassist, I-man and I talked about Wisconsin, Brett Favre, the high cost of living in New York, being hungry and life in general. Drummer, John even offered me his beer. One show away from the end of their summer tour and they are energized about life, their music and giving. This realness and ability to connect with people and the society surrounding us translates heavily in their music and show. Raw like demons trapped in hell for centuries, they don’t try to pummel you outright, they have fun with the music, but there is always evident. the subtext and venom scratching at the skin. With song titles like “Sorry the feds broke up your Indian Summer” and “Where have all the East Villagers gone” you better come prepared for some energy at this show.
Closing out the night, were Imaginary Airshow (Pensacola, Fl.). Piloted by several of the area’s hardest working musicians, this band knows how to invest all they have into their performance and connect musically with their audience. And when I say “connect” I don’t mean in the pop punk, hip hop way of call and response banter between audience and artist. If Imaginary Airshow were a lover, they’d be the girl that wasn’t needy and was so emotionally stable that she didn’t need your feedback for validation. She’s going to “do what she do” with or without you. Watching the band was almost a voyeuristic pleasure; craftsman in the dark, wearing black and their only occupation consisting of their tools and the energy they are creating.
The vocal lighthouse on this journey is Todd Vilardi whose moments of “breaking the fourth wall” are brief exchanges not to people in the audience, but the entire crowd as a collective listener/watcher. These short messages and moments are breathing while the lyrics take a break from dancing during the show. The weight of Todd’s communication is made more powerful by the focused intent of fellow musicians Gio Lugo (bass), Aaron Finlay (guitar), Brandon Warren (drums) and Sean Peterson (keyboard) Their quiet devotion to the music they play is matched only by the intensity by which they execute it.
And ALL of this for only a $5 cover! Bargain, indeed.
Drink of the night: Bottled Water