New Years Eve Eve
First off, if had I known that the openers, Deadmans Shoes, were who they were I'd have gotten my act together and made the effort to get out there before I actully did, because this band could very well name themselves "The Milwaukee Roots Rock All-Stars." I've taken a seat at the bar where I met up with Darrell "The Brains" Martin and this other guy I know only as "Steve From Atlanta" and I'm all "hey Darrell, is that Blaine (Schultz) on guitar?" Yup. And yes, that was Jeff Lauwasser on bass. And, Darrell pointed out to me, "That's Dave Thomas hiding behind the PA speaker." Wow, glad to see he's still out and about playing. Mike Farrow on drums (who I remember from an old Liv Mueller project) and some guy I didn't recognize on third guitar. Only caught about three songs, but they sounded so wonderfully like you would expect a collection of some of the city's best and most longstanding country/twang/(fill in your)billy musicians to sound. As I commented on my Flickr page, my own insecurity prevented me from getting a decent shot of them. I took one look at Lauwasser, remembered his wife is one of the best musican portraitists in the city and got stupidly intimidated.
On other other hand, I agree with Steve from Atlanta that the misstep of the set was "Space Oddity." McCuen is enough of a glam drama queen to pull off Bowie, but this isn't the Bowie for him. "Space Oddity" is a song that doesn't work in a two piece. Its too complicated, it needs a full band, it needs the dynamics that only a full band can give. It's too first-second-third complex for this drums and guitar thing. As a result, it seemed to drag on forever, and we're all thinking to ourselves, "Oh, geez, we're only on the second part?" Worse yet, this was their second to the last song. Last song, a meanacing fuzzed up beast of a song called "Drive By Shooting" was good, but too short to make us forget the Bowie debacle, so that's what we're left with. Cut this one out, boys. If you must do Bowie, dig out your copy of Diamond Dogs, Ziggy, or you can probably even get away with Lodger if you insist on getting all artsy about it. But "Drive By Shooting" needed to be preceeded by something equally dangerous and ferocious, even AJ Foyt or something of that ilk, to leave us with the 1-2 punch that the White Hot Tizzies promise to knock us out with.
The last band was a white boy hip hop thang called Dark Sarcasm. Perhaps I don't get hip-hop, or I'm missing something, but they were missing something. I'm not a fan of just rapping over a beat. As readers can probably tell, I like the sound of the guitar and the bass, and both were weak here. Its not that they weren't competent players, but they needed to give me something to hold onto, a snappy little riff here, a funky bass line there, and it wasn't happening. Coudn't hear the lyrics, so I couldn't tell you if that would save them or not. I might be being hard on them, as I'm getting into a lot of Britishhip-hop and trip-hop lately, and the big difference is that melody plays a strong role in the proceedings. That's why I finally discovered that say, the Black Eyed Peas, were worth looking into. They GET melody and bravado, which everybody else who played tonight was loaded with. OK, I'm comparing a bunch of kids just starting out to super megastars, but then again, three paragraphs ago I'm comparing some kids just starting out to Page, Clapton, and West and they come out shining. OK, boys, listen to your drummer (McCuen, looking a bit out of place, but still an elderstateman worth taking advice from) and when you're done, go to ITunes and download some Grandmaster Flash or Funkadelic or even the Beasties and hear what I'm looking for in my white boy rap. Hey at least you got the shoes right.