Ending February with a hazy bang

It's been a long crazy month and to calm myself down, I was planning on ending it with the excellently familiar. The Dick Satan Trio was booked for a nice early show at the wonderfully familiar Circle A Cafe, and that was my plan. But then Vinyl From The Vault's Sarah Filzen pinged me on FB and recommended a show at Company Brewing, and I would be in Riverwest already, and in the middle of that lineup would be this band Brother O Brother, that oh, brother, she has not shut up about since last summer already, so I decided to put that on my itinerary and see what the BFD was all about.

The Dick Satan Trio Quartet Quintet
I arrived early at Company Brewing, basically to get a good parking place (which I did) and the briskly walked to the Circle A and miraculously saw the "chef's table" by the door was unoccupied, so I grabbed it. The Satan boys were only halfway through their first number, so I settled in for a predictably great set of instrumental surf. They insist that they're not "just" surf, that they're "playboy rock" but they're too dangerous sounding to get all comfy and Burt Bacharach about things. They cover "Comanche" for cryin' out loud; these guys are dangerous. And that's how I like my surf. Also, they might be dangerous, but they're not mathematicians. The Dick Satan Trio, which before this night was a quartet, is now a quintet, having added a keyboardist. The keyboards (normally set to farfisa) cement the surf sound as well. But changing the band name would involve changing the STP-parodied logo, and we can't have that.

Static Eyes
On to Company Brewing, where the triple bill was just getting started. Up first was Static Eyes, comprised of 3/4s of Fox Face: Fox Face guitarists Lynsey and Lydia become the rhythm section of bass and drums respectively, and drummer Chopper steps up to the mike for lead vocals. A guitarist named Leeeee (nobody ever puts their last names on their bios anymore; used to be in Milwaukee you just made up a whole new name, like Bob DuBlon or Mylz) rounded out the punk lineup. This whole thing reminds me that I really need to get out and see Fox Face before they head out for their European tour, but I really enjoyed Static Eyes: very basic but throbbing punk rock, and not as dark as Fox Face. Dare I say it, they were fun.  Chopper has that classic stage presence of the drummer getting out from behind his trap set and making use of all this free room he's got now, and it's like the rest of the band is there to let him fly.

OK, Sarah, yes, Brother O Brother is everything you said they would be. Great entertainers who break a sweat even before they take the stage. They don't spare any theatrical expense to make you forget there's only two of them: there's a fog machine, there's blinding lights (that I'm kind of glad weren't strobes!) there's  drummer Warner Swopes who changes from a t-shirt to a faux fur vest and plastic oversized chain necklace, and there's guitarist/vocalist Chris Banta, who struts onto the stage in worn out white cowboy boots and an impossible mop of hair, neither of which draw anything away from his considerable swagger as he wails, growls and kicks out his Midwestern blues. Comparison to the White Stripes are inevitable, but these guys are heavier, ballsier and don't seem to give a darn if you think they're cool or not. They do seem to be concerned with whether or not you're entertained: at one point during the show Swopes stands up on top of his bass drum clutching his floor tom and eventually makes it to the audience floor (all the while never missing a beat). Not to be outdone, Banta sashayes into the audience and even makes his way walking across the bar itself before slipping back onstage and finishing off the set.
Musically, they're ass-kicking Blue Cheer-style rocking blues, which I could listen to as much as I could listen to surf all day: both are dangerously great. Here's a taste of a lower-key (if you could call anything about them low key), part of the set, appropriately called The Itch.

The night finished off with another band of "half of this other band that's good" called Moon Rats, which was comprised of what appeared to be 1/2 of Calliope, and they sounded like "What if Calliope was having a really rough week and decided to take it out on their instruments?" Which is to say, they were darker and thrashiER than Calliope, but still really good. They weren't thrashy per se, but every.single.song that I saw was delivered like it was the last song they'd ever play so they better beat the bejeezus out of it. Like the earlier bands that night, they took the stage with a vengeance and did not let up. I drove home in a daze.


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