Sunday, June 11, 2006

Friday 09 June 2006 (Music, Good! Bartender, Bad)

[More pictures of this show are on my account at:]

Well Walter’s is on my shit-list after Friday’s show. While Roy is a super-nice guy and the club is generally OK all it takes is one dickweed bartender to make you want to blow a place off.

So just to get my bitching out of the way, let me share with you the big moment of the evening. I’d invited Karen to come see the Sharks and Sailors; Jonx; and Motion Turns It On show. Karen, being the trooper, agreed despite being a bit tired from going out with some friends on Thursday. So she comes out and orders a water from the buzz-cut non-Roy bartender who takes her order with a huff. Later in the evening, Karen says that she’s going to grab a beer and heads to the bar. Roy is busy by the taps and the other guy is slowly moving toward us at the bar. Then, he makes this left sweep towards us. He points to the guy to Karen’s left (he’s ok), he points to me and my half finished beer (I point to Karen), he looks at Karen and walks away. Arms go up! “NO!” “He did NOT just do that!” “OOOOH! Man!” To stay would have been undignified if she’d have ignored it or bloody if she’d given the idiot what-for so, with a “Fuck this!”, Karen leaves with her dignity intact. I came close to leaving but I felt some commitment to shoot some good shots of S&S and stuck around despite losing all the happy momentum of the evening. So after Saturday’s belvile/ Something Fierce record release party I am boycotting Walter’s for the foreseeable future.

But it wasn’t all about the sucky bartender and the resulting fact that I hardly got to talk at all with Karen. Simply put – nix the anti-Roy bartender and it would have been a really cool evening. I did get to meet with some of the Sharks and Sailors peeps - I briefly spoke with Allen and spoke at length with Melissa. Not surprisingly, they were very nice, personable, and interesting people. As usual the Jonx were super nice. Plus, I also got to give some good humored jabs at Chris and Roy of Gods Temple for pussing out of the Rudz show on Tuesday with Whorehound and Golden Axe and they, not being arrogant wusses, actually took it in good humor. Did I mention the asshole bartender? OK! OK! OK! Onto the music…

I came in during Motion Turns it On’s set. I think the guitarist does much more interesting stuff in Dizzy Pilot but this is his instrumental band and they play what they play very well. There are interesting elements and ideas but to be honest I don’t think it amounts to much despite the blur of notes. The most interesting element of the band is the keyboardist who plays in a pretty unique style that mixes a lot of interesting electronic sounds with the more straightforward notes. Maybe they might turn out more interesting in the future but for right now I find it a bit underwhelming.

The Jonx! The Jonx! It was really great to see the Jonx again! Here is a band that follows in that amazing tradition of bands with drummers who sing. You know what I’m talking about Genesis, The Eagles, and Night Ranger. Yeah, Night Ranger. The Jonx are exactly like Night Ranger if Night Ranger didn’t play pop metal, dress like idiots, could write interesting songs, and generally not suck ass. But all Kidding aside they (the Jonx you putz not Night Ranger!) never fail to amaze me! Danny and Trey are an amazing rhythm section while Stu’s spindly guitar work is the kind of that reminds me what a lazy ass guitarist I really am. Now if they can just capture this sound on record. The first album is decent but there is simply no comparison to what these guys are capable of doing live. But I’ve always thought that American bands by nature sound best live. Pink Floyd, the Beatles, or Radiohead – all fine bands – but just take Jesus Lizard, John Spencer, or Albert Collins and ask anyone whose seen them live if the recording or the live experience is what they treasure most. It’s not a bad place to be.

Sharks and Sailors also suffer from the same issue of how to capture what they do live. On their three song EP, they sound like a mutant child of Superchunk but live they have this massive unstoppable sound driven by Phil’s drums and filled out by the heavy proggy “I know you guys have some King Crimson in your record collection” guitar/bass lines. These guys hate 4/4 and they can make it work because it’s not just showing off, they can actually build something up from the swirling notes and rip it up. Like the Jonx, this is a band where there is no star in the band; here is simply a collective of people who know how to work together to produce a unique sound. The interesting thing about an ensemble like this is that at any moment anyone in the band is doing something interesting. This is the second time I see them live and they were just as amazing on Friday (though I will admit the sound was not quite as good as the Rudyard’s sound they got a few weeks ago). I’m definitely looking forward to playing with them in August.

By the way, if there is anything to be learned from my weekend of great local bands is that you will know who rocks by how great and distinctive their drummer is. But I’ll go into that tomorrow when I go into Something Fierce, Dimes and Belvile's Saturday show.. It’s late and I have just scanned the last of my negatives in and I have to prep them for the web.

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