FRIDAY MAY 20th
Friday begins with a lousy awakening from an even lousier night of sleep. The weirdest part of the morning was sitting on Coz's couch and having Tim Vulgar sit next to me after having witnessed the shit that occurred the previous night. I cracked something stupid like "Hey, looks like you still have some octopus on you shoe." He's a nice guy when not hurling deep sea creatures at you. I pitied whoever took a shower after him. Everyone's just lazing around the house so me and Steve Strange take off for Delilah's just to get moving. The Delilah's BBQ is always one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Plenty of time to catch up with old pals, bust balls, crack wise, play grab ass, or whatever you wanna call it. This year they actually managed to fulfill on the promise of having bands play, bucking the tradition of rumored Baseball Furies' shows that never happen in years past. If you've never been, Delilah's has a pretty basic shotgun-shack bar set-up: straight back door-to-door, bar on one side, booths on the other. Not a lot of space to move, even when there's not a band playing in the back of the room. After some mid-day drinks, me and some other smart-minded types decide to post up by the makeshift stage. The place immediately starts turning into an oven. Large men such as Mitch and myself begin cooking in our own juices. Sweat and beer are pouring quickly. The Carbonas set up and it seems like forever until they get the go-ahead to commence the rocking. The five of them are packed onto a stage the size of a postage stamp. One of the most sardine-like crowd experiences of my life. They fact they proceeded to launch into one of the most shit-hot punk sets of the weekend didn't help it get any more comfortable, as people started going as nuts as they confining space allows. The Carbonas were just super fucking tight. Dave's drumming is machine-like, and I'm surprised he didn't pass out he played so fast for so long. The place had surprisingly good sound, and we were front and center taking it all in. The new lead guitarist, who's also in Beat Beat Beat, tossed off great leads effortlessly and the singer's vocals are some of the best "punk" vox going now. Quickfast bass and rhythm guitar kept things on the fast track. I was honestly amazed at how great they were. So, they do all the hits off the upcoming LP, "Sick Satisfaction", and more, a Scientists cover ("Bet Ya Lyin'"), and just kept going and going. I could have listened to them all day, if it were not for the heatstroke and dehydration kicking in. Just when I was about to bail out, Icki pulled the ultimate bro move, and somehow managed to fight his way through the crowd and back with cold High Life for the bunch of us. For this, the man will forever be a saint in my book. It was the best beer I've had all year. After at least fifteen or so songs The Carbonas finally let us off the hook, and finished with "Frothing at the Mouth". Which is good, because no one was quitting until they stopped, they were that incredible. Cardwell's got a real gem in his stable here folks, grab that LP with both hands when it comes out. (Right click and "Save as..." to listen to The Carbonas)
The Baseball Furies followed with their set shortly after. They were fresh off a European Tour, a few haircuts, a hospital visit, and some stitches. And obviously they were locked in. I had to take this one in from the back of the bar where there was more room and more air, but the place was still packed to the gills. They've perfected their newer, slowed down but still in your face attack, and they played a bunch of new(er) stuff. I've seen the Furies a great many times, and this one was nicely pounded out out in the intimate setting. One of the most-seasoned bands on the scene, doing what they do best: charmingly taking you under their arm and delivering a few grimy gut punches. Steve was front and center, and I think he summed it up well: "Baseball Furies are a few things: 1) loud, 2) visceral, 3) abrasive yet 4) catchy at the same time, and 5) really great. Some dude with spikes all over his leather jacket and keeps thrashing around in front of the cramped 'stage' and ends up knocking half of somebody's beer on me. Listening to the Furies it feels very right to be soaked in beer." I totally agree. After the Furies finished up, everyone went on their separate ways to meet up later. Steve and I joined up with Clif, Trickknee, Dick Adventure, and the Wisonsin crew and headed to The Weiner's Circle for pre-Empty Bottle eats and Dave's for some quick record shopping. I bought some Blaxploitation soundtrack LPs. Steve bought a shitload of $1 singles. And Richard Adventure bought UFO's "Lights Out" LP. I love that guy.
Two parking tickets later (fuck you Chicago), we're back to the Bottle for more rock action. Local openers tonight are everyone's favorite band, MOTO. If you know me, you know I think MOTO are good but not as godhead as some seem to think. Their entire recorded output could be distilled into one awesome LP (and Caporino has agreed with me on this). But I was interested to see how they would be in the live setting. Paul was suffering from some sort of respiratory ailment, and hawked up yellow loogies and blew his nose between songs for the duration of the set. He even dedicated a song to his chest cold. But like the veteran rocker he is, he didn't miss a beat. "Ready, Aim, 1-2-3-4" and they took off, belting out mostly greatest hits and some stuff off of 'Raw Power'. "Catamaran" and "Crystalize My Penis" sounded great, but they didn't do "Dick About It". Bassist JJ Champion mugs like a pro-wrestler and has the build to match. And I was actually kind of thrilled to see the one and only Laurence Museum of Death in person. I'm not ready to anoint them as saviors or anything, but they are hell of a lot of fun, Caporino's got a great knack for writing a catchy tune here and there, and they definitely have a great sense of humor. A nice break from total KBD destruction, even if they played forever.
In HozAc's continuing effort to seemingly diversify the Blackout bands a bit, Seattle strangers the Blank Its were next. Based on their records I thought they were good, but not "Blackout" good yet. They were an odd looking band, and their lack of stage presence/antics actually kind of fit their outsider indie-wave well. Their drummer was big and bald and a heavy hitter. The guitarist moved a little side to side, and that's about it, and kept up his nasally monotone throughout the set. The bass player was female and steady with the rhythm. For about three or four songs I was telling myself I wasn't impressed, but soon realized I really couldn't stop watching them. They were understated yet hypnotizing, and their songs' driving rhythms and drone-y vocals kind of hooked you in. The kept it up strong for a good five or six numbers before the guitarist broke a string and threw them off a bit. They were good, if a bit samey from song to song, the repitition of which I surmised was the cause of the hypnotizing effect. As Bitch Deluxe said, they sound like The Intelligence if they were a pop band. Not quite that good, but close enough.
Final fucking Solutions time. The only band I can say I was really excited to see, and they were on fire. Zac's a great frontpiece, sort of like a punker and a bit slimmer David Thomas. He poses, does some robot moves, and just makes for some real good visuals. The band was sharp, the songs cutting like switchblades. Deep Six. Eye Don't Like You. My Love is Disappointing. Yes, it actually was TOTAL FUCKING KBD URINALS DESTRUCTION. Jay keeps pushing the tempo on drums. Zac looks a bit winded. Jay refuses to pause between songs, like a any good punk band should. They duel on vocals for awhile. No Final Solution. As Jesse pointed out to me at some point, it's weird (and kinda cool) how Jay adopts a different voice for each band, this one being more gruff and purposely dumb-sounding than the demon screech he uses in the Reatards. "We got a bunch of lazy fucking hippies in this band. Let's go!" he mock berates the other guys. That's how you entertain folks, keep it amusing, and maintain a high level of quality punk-rock song killing. And kill they did. Best band of the night. (Right click and "Save as..." to listen to Final Solutions)
Grinding the KBD train wreck to a total halt were the Gris Gris. They were a bone of contention for a lot in attendance. You either love them or hate them it seems. Well, except for me, as I just kinda didn't care. The records didn't do much, and I had yet to see the supposedly mind-blowing live show. And, well, it was psychedelic. It sounded like Canderson's picture to the right looks. Guitars were played with bows and beer bottles. One guy played "feedback" by waving a mic in front of some amps for a whole song. The drummer played with big mallet-like sticks. I will admit, Greg Ashley is very charismatic, and there is definitely something there. And I understand why everyone who loves this band for the most part are also pot smokers. It was exactly what I expected, and they played one rocker that went really well. The rest were longer jammy freakouts, and I probably would have dug it more had I seen them on their own. Or if I was a fucking hippie. Their set did make some time for socializing, and a few moments to check out the merch tables, which had surprisingly little to offer this year in terms of records.
Closing the night were the mighty Reigning Sound. I'd seen them before, so I knew what to expect: a good, long set of true blue rock'n'roll. Greg had the new Reigning Sound line-up with him, which were two older dudes he must have recruited from North or South Carolina or wherever it is he's relocated to. And really, the guy could pick any two session men in the world and sound great. It's Greg and his songs that make the band. Someone dubbed them Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, but I thought they were OK. The bass player was declared a "total dude" by Richard Adventure, and that's as good a description as I can think of. The guy had a smoke hanging out of his mouth the entire set. The drummer was solid and professional and had good posture. "Your Love is a Fine Thing" always moves me. "You Got Me Hummin'". Classics old and new. Crowd favorite "Reptile Style". They played FOREVER. I'd already heard personal favorites "I'll Cry" and "You're So Strange" so I decided to bail during a cover of "Suspicious Minds". They had played at least two dozen songs up until that point, and I heard they went on for a few more after that. A little excessive, even if it is Greg Oblivian. I wondered if Goubler was in the wings with a sniper rifle as I walked out the door. I figured I'd check into my hotel an evening early so I could actually sleep on a mattress. And God was obviously watching over me this weekend, as there was a White Castle almost directly across the street from the Days Inn. I went to sleep after a healthy meal of chicken rings, sliders, and, yes, even some fish nibblers. Day two, done.
JESSE'S BLACKOUT TOP 10
Carbonas and Final Solutions by Mark Murrmann
1. Hot Doug's wild boar sausage w/feta cheese and wasabi mayo
2. The Ice Factory show, as a whole
3. Broads with real big beans
4. Reigning Sound
5. Kajun SS
6. Final Solutions
7. The guitarist from Fashion Fashion and the somethingorothers
8. Carbonas at Delilah's
10. being drunk for three days straight and apparently having a real good time
Gris Gris pic by Canderson
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