You know it's going to be a wierd night when
your first view of "the show" is of women (barely) clad in RenFest
Barbarian Wear doing the bump-n-grind to Tom Petty's American
Girl. At that point, just grab a seat by the bar and sit
back and observe the spectacle, which is what i did. Apparently
what i call RenFest Barbarian Wear (various metal things attached
to a bikini) is called "fetish metalwear", or, at least, that's
what the card for the group of ladies said. They are called
Iron, and apparentely they model this stuff for some guy
who, well, somehow attaches various pieces of metal to bikinis.
I find that odd. Am i supposed to be turned on by some woman
who looks like she has a vegetable steamer covering her breasts?
It made me crave broccoli.... I honestly do not understand.
Anyhoo, after the Tom Petty song and dance was over, a heavy metal band occurred and the fetish clad models continued to dance with the band. The band was called Nekkid, and they were actually pretty good for local heavy metal. I tend to avoid the Altanta heavy metal scene, which has a deep Motorhead fixation. This band, on the other hand, seemed to take their inspiration more from Black Sabbath and The Allman Brothers. Not that the Allman Brothers were a heavy metal act, but rather that Nekked had a hint of bluesy twang in their deep power chorded stew. Rumour has it that the guitarist in this group used to play rockabilly, and he had short hair and rockabilly tattoos, so combine that with the slight sound differential and the rumour is rather believeable. One song in particular caught my attention: it has a certain Guns N Roses sludginess to it, and an echo of the sloppy fast blues of The Replacements as well. The chorus is what made this one: the band would harmonize, "I don't know / What kind of drugs they're on / They must be high." Really funny. Overall, i was entertained, when i didn't think i would be at first.
The Cogburns were up next, and Tracers has been
urging me to check these guys out for a few weeks now. They
are a four piece and they play in black jeans, white shirts,
and ties. (Some of the ties even looked a little skinny!) They
had a really strong rhythm section that nailed their songs to
the floor, while the guitars soared overhead in a crunchy, fast
Ramones meets rockabilly sort of fashion. There was a little
twang to the guitar, a lot of speed, and tons of energy. They
did one tune that already sounded familiar to me, and i want
to say it was a George Thorogood cover, although i didn't write
down a song title and right now i have no idea what it was.
Overall though, The Cogburns put on a good, loud, sloppy rock
show. They were very entertaining in concert. This is a local
band to look out for.
The final act for the evening, playing to an almost empty house, was The Love Drunks. This is a young band in the sense that all of the members look fresh out of college. The lead singer instantly draws you attention, as he flails away on the stage with no apparent sense of self-preservation a la Iggy Pop. He was flailing around up there, singing up a storm, and acting like a man possessed.
The band that backed him was a sedate (how could they not be, in comparison) three piece that played very solid music. Overall there was a bit of the Black Flag to what they played, although i also heard echoes of early Fall and some New York Dolls in their sound. Think classic punk, back before punk meant "California pop bands with power chords and short hair". Yeah -- great stuff. They did music i like, and they did it well.
So as i said, they played to a mostly empty club (2 Minions,
3 staff, 7 miscellaneous Echo Lounge denizons), but they really
poured their hearts into the show. In fact, the vocalist even
fried his voice out screaming the lyrics. Now, while i respect
them for giving their all to even the most modest of audiences,
i must advise the band, especially the vocalist, that at this
rate he will have to retire from music (with a totally destroyed
voice) in 5 years or so. So: i love that you put your all into
every show, but be more careful. I dunno -- drink herbal tea
on stage or something.
Anyway, i must mention the funniest moment of the night. During one song the vocalist was flailing around and working up a sweat, so he decided to cool off by dumping most of a PBR on his head. During the next song break, he asked the crowd, "Do you like Rock N Roll?" There were cheers and clapping, and then he said, "That's right. Never say 'no' to a man who pours beer on himself for money." Very true words.
Overall, i really enjoyed The Love Drunks. They put on a really great punk rock set, and i would love to see them play in a full club, where they can feed off of the energy of a large crowd.
For the night, well, it was a good one. It started off wierd, but i saw three bands do different variations of the "hard" sound, and all three did it well in their own way. I would recommend any of them.