Sunday, November 30, 2008
Fresh Charm School Reunion
What a concept: a combination cover band joint (the upstairs, which wasn't open), a sports bar which I have to assume normally has a fine selection of brews and then a "dance club" which is doubling as "The Globe South" -- where they're putting in original bands. It was "The Globe South" that I came for: with a three band bill I would have expected to see at the old Globe: starting off with the Mighty Deerlick. I paid my cover (which covers the whole joint) and found my way in.
You know when there's an economic recession when Dave Deerlick only sports two, that's right, count 'em two t-shirt changes. But that didn't dampen the show. Once again, they do their standard set, but Dave's onstage antics make it fresh each time. How do they do it? How do they take the same dozen songs and make them sound new each and every time?
The room cleared for Mad Trucker Gone Mad, and that's a shame, because they came in from Madison and showed us all how cowpunk is done. And it's not really cowPUNK. They were too sharp of musicians to do that. They were more just taking the idea of running country music in another direction, and added plenty of garage rock, a little prog, even, and playing it loud and fast. I'm actually surprised more Deerlick fans didn't stick around to catch the show -- these guys rocked and blew the snot out everybody's faces as much as Dave's boys do. And they've been around for ages. I'm somewhat embarassed this was the first time I'd finally caught them, but I'm glad I did. Just wish more people would have. Finishing out the night was a equally passionate set from Paul Wall's current project, The Nice Outfit. I've written about them before -- they unapologetically wear their love for the Fab Four on their sleeves, and put together perfect pop that works without making them look like the typical cute earnest boys who normally do this kind of stuff. Thus, when Wall straps on the 12-stringer, you know it's because he needed that sound -- and this was for a song that would have survived without it, but sounded just better with it.
Saturday, after the game, Brian and I arrived at the Uptowner, and in my mind I was reminded of something I've told Stella quite often: "We have two families. There's the one we're born into, and the one we choose." And much of our chosen family was at the Uptowner to see another of Voot Warnings' (increasingly rare) performances.
The good news was that maybe Voot might be playing out more, because most of both his sets last night were new songs, new heavy songs, some almost prog-heavy (and maybe that's due to drummer Vic Demechei's involvement with the Or band...), and many of them less funny and more deeply intense. In any case, it was like the old Riverwest reunion. There were a couple of younger fans there that night, (a few pooh-poohing the band, and in a state of role reversal, there was a twinge of "you don't understand") but overall I felt transported back to, say, 1992, right up to the moment when The Prodigal Son walked in after an absence longer than Michael Redd's, and took his place right in front of the stage, where he stayed almost all night.
It felt like Thanksgiving among the "family". Not everybody was there, (as many family dinners can be), but there was enough of people we hadn't seen in awhile that it was good enough. Lots of hugs, lots of smiles, and eventually, lots of songs we're heard a bazillion times. Maybe the band waited to play them because they thought that maybe they've gotten old, but like the Deerlick, Voot can play "Jesus Christ is My Wife" seven hundred time, and it's fresh each time. Kind of like that same green bean casserole you've had every year at this time. It's still good, and it's still fresh.