Archives for category: Punk Rock

Alex Levine on The Kinks, New York Mayor Ed Koch and Underdogs

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos are clever without being cheeky, sincere without being preachy, self-aware but never too in on their own joke. Still, their most endearing trait is a simple one: They make murderously catchy, endorphin-boosting, shout-along guitar music with vigor and zeal. – Pitchfork, Zach Kelly

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos wear New York on their sleeves as a band of brothers that have been playing together since they were Wee Brooklyn Lads, taking in the sights and sounds of Nirvana and the social angst of the 90’s as well as The Beastie Boys and mixing it with New York’s best punk pioneers, The Dictators, The Ramones with the interweaving guitar techniques of Television and put them in a modern context of socially conscious East Coast Kinks with Hip Hop lyrics.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

While at The End this past Monday night, Alex made the comment that they thought about moving to Nashville. Nashville has changed and The So So Glos would bring a different slice of pie to Music City. Alex is not only busy with the band but with Adam Reich and Shea Stadium Studio in New York.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Tell me what is going on at Shea Stadium.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine / The So So Glos: Every band that comes through Shea Stadium is documented and they are recorded by our Producer, Adam Reich who records all the bands and puts them up  at Live at Shea Stadium and archives them all.

TNB: Is it similar to the video you had that you did on KEXP Seattle that I saw on YouTube?

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: Yeah, yeah, it’s like that but, it’s just that all the bands at Shea are up there. You can look at full sets.

TNB: My favorite cut was “Diss Town.” I don’t think you have released that as a single.

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: It’s going to be the next single. I think.

TNB: I do like the video of “Son Of An American.” I guess that kinda shows you guys growing up playing instruments and all that kind of stuff, right?

AL: Yeah, that’s the way we started. We’ve been together for a while.

TNB: Yeah, you and your brother Ryan and I guess Zach ended up being your step-brother right?

AL: That’s how it all came together. It’s kind of the story of the band in the early stages.

TNB: As far as the sound, I was going to ask you how much Punk rock is around in New York or Brooklyn anymore? Is there a scene?

AL: We started the band about six years ago and we were definitely not in fashion or in style.  We were caught up in a lot of the Art scene and a lot of music shit parties and we were kind of always outcasts. There was noise rock or really hip shit. So, we kind of got into the DIY scene in Brooklyn and we helped  expand it. It seems like every day I see a new Punk band come out so I guess we were ahead of the times? I don’t know what to say about that.

TNB: Well to me, you are kind of a bridge because, obviously you have newer influences but, when you think of the original Punk that started in New York, I can hear that in your music  like The Dictators and a little bit of Television with the interactive guitar work that you guys do.

AL: Yeah, yeah totally.

TNB: I mean do you guys feel you are flying the flag for New York in a way?

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: In some way. I think the mentality of all punkers is not necessarily what genre you play but, the energy and we are bringing a lot of different styles to the table. We’ve got Hip Hop. I don’t know if you hear that but, a lot of my lyrics are influenced a lot by Hip Hop. We are at the stage in music where  it kinda goes and it is just all mixed up in the Pop. But, the energy is Punk Rock. You know, pushing it a little bit toward the future. It is such a community between Rock and Roll and Punk Rock.  When it comes to music, I think we try to focus on a lot of different styles and there has been a lot of different kinds of music that we have been into from Motown to Country and Hip Hop as well as Punk Rock and Rock and Roll.

TNB: It is really upbeat stuff.

AL: Yeah.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: When Punk Rock started out, it wasn’t all like bands like Fear and stuff. There were all different kinds of styles. Dictators were kind of cornball and they were having a good time.

AL: Yeah, my favorite stuff that they did was when they had those bittersweet undertones, you know.     The Kinks pulled that off a lot, like heavy social commentary and yet it was very poppy and happy in a big way but the subject is this really dark topic. I always like a bittersweet marriage between darkness and lightness, a walk on that thin line.

TNB: I think that is a good comparison with The Kinks. You guys name check a lot of things that put you where your band is from.

AL: Yeah.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB:  The Kinks talked about socio-economic things in a fun way about where they were from.

AL: Totally. I don’t think there are too many bands that talk about what they see nowadays for better or for worse, you know. They are always trying to do something simple. I think it is in our personalities to talk about it.

TNB:  I’ll tell you, starting your video off with Mayor Koch really cracked me up.

AL: Ha ha!

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: It was like how did you find that? How did you get permission? It was just hilarious.

AL: It was The Beastie Boys style that got us to think about using it.

TNB: Yeah, the video kind of reminded me of like a Beastie Boys video thing.

AL: Ed Koch, you know, kind of represented the whole of what New York is all about. In New York, you have such a perpetual underdog. We kind of see ourselves as underdogs in the whole music game because, you know, we don’t really have that much of a gimmick. We are what we are. We are not trying to sell much. We are just trying to live with the truth. A big deal to us is being underdogs.

TNB: When I looked at you guys you have this sense of dressing like uptown Beastie Boys but, also kind of like Television, where Television really didn’t have a look after Richard Hell left. They were just a band from New York and this is what we do.

AL: Yeah.

TNB: Anything coming up?

AL: Nothing really, just happy being back in Nashville and having a fun time.

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

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“The high point of the weekend was booking half a dozen or more acts that had never played Birmingham and hearing from SO many festival goers that loved them.” – Travis Morgan

 

Tedo Stone, Secret Stages 2013,-photo - Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone, Secret Stages 2013,-photo – Brad Hardisty

Secret Stages beat the odds by finally lifting off this sultry wet last weekend in Birmingham with a new central location down on the cobblestone Morris Avenue backed by the trains going by on the upper deck above the Miller Lite Stage with food trucks lined up selling everything from gourmet Tacos to Hawaiian Ice or Snowballs depending on what coast you are from.

 The buzz had been building with bands on the bill from Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio and points around the Southeast.

Das Haus, loud, experimental out of the box venue, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Das Haus, loud, experimental out of the box venue, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

One of the main additions over last year was an official Hip Hop venue – Matthews with a two day fest of rocking the microphone that kicked off with Mic Militia on Friday night and finished with Supastition  after midnight on Saturday or Sunday morning however you look at it.

Lazer/Wulf, Secret Stages 2013, photo _ Brad Hardisty

Lazer/Wulf, Secret Stages 2013, photo _ Brad Hardisty

 Most of the venues changed from last year with the exception of Das Haus returning with the ever permanent smell of Brats and a floor lamp that seems to always be turned on and perched a little awkward onstage which featured the loudest most punk sounds of local band The Dirty Lungs while Saturday offered more varied fare from Tedo Stone, the acoustic singer/songwriter styles of Jazzmine Garfield followed by the extreme experimental metal of Lazer/Wulf from Georgia playing in the set time of last year’s Georgia heaviness Black Tusk. It seems that Mastodon started in some fertile ground of a loud and proud scene.  This would be the perfect venue for Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream to play, okay; maybe it is a little smallish.

Silver Tongues at Pale Eddies, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Silver Tongues at Pale Eddies, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Lindsay Garrett- Volunteer Coordinator:

 “One of my favorite things this year was running into JazzMine Garfield on 2nd Ave in between her two sets while she was playing a few songs for people passing by.  She basically just stopped on a corner, sat down, and started playing.  She had fan girls taking video and snapping photos while she played her guitar and sang, totally unaffected.  And the entire time she had a smile on her face.
She’s a little gem.

 The reason this is a high point for me is because it was definitive of the Secret Stages energy.  Artists are thirsty to play for people who want to listen…  And fans feel like they have gained some sense of bonding/closeness with the musicians they love.”

 

JazzMine Garfield, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

JazzMine Garfield, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Jazzmine Garfield – Birmingham, Alabama

“They just saw me playing out and about and I got here with Secret Stages with Courtney.  I play anywhere and everywhere.  I will be at The Metro later and Iron Bar on August 15th.”

Most of the bigger Birmingham bands played Friday night sets like one of the longest running bands Through The Sparks, last year’s buzz band The Great Book of John on the Miller Lite Stage as well as The Grenadines who also signed to Birmingham label Communicating Vessels this last year releasing a 7 inch as well as a proper release for the well-produced first album that was available at shows over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, Model Citizen with one of the greatest songs ever to come out of Birmingham, “The Inner Fool” were nowhere to be seen this year.

Belle Adair, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Belle Adair, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Travis Morgan- Head Of Artist & Music Production:

“The high point of the weekend was booking half a dozen or more acts that had never played Birmingham and hearing from SO many festival goers that loved them.  The sweet synergy of music discovery.  We get to discover bands and then showcase them for folks in Birmingham to also discover and it’s a special bond.  Also, seeing everything coalesce was very special. Between the art installation from Joe Minter (featured in the New York Times in April), the graffiti, the amazing performances and the positive energy between bands and music fans, we soared like eagles.”

“I loved The Log Ladies, Adron, Healing Power, Amasa Hines and Ponychase.  The Great Book of John sounded great. I really liked Ante Meridian and Supastition was really solid too.  W. Stewart and Looksy performed great sets. Foreign Fields were terrific but I didn’t get to see them long enough.  Through the Sparks is (bias) one of my favorite bands of all time, so there you go.  Always good.”  

photo - Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

Rain was hard and heavy on Saturday afternoon and threatened to make things interesting like Saturday night last year when festival goers danced in the rain in front of the main stage, but as luck would have it, the rain stopped before things started up on night two. Although, the steam off the cobblestones didn’t stop until late into the evening leaving everybody as damp as the produce section at Publix.

Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Joey – Healing Power from Cincinnati, Ohio:

“We were invited and couldn’t turn it down. It’s an honor to be here. It’s a lot of fun.”

Wussy, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Wussy, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Matthews and M-Lounge were connected by a couple of hallways and a set of stairs that put one in the midst of a rap throw down before climbing a long staircase ending in the middle of a set by Wussy while The Parthenon (VIP Lounge) was just across the street and featured three sets each night.

Tedo Stone at Das Haus, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone at Das Haus, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Tedo Stone from Atlanta, Georgia:

“We had talked to Travis back in the spring about playing and it got pro-longed and he ended up making it happen in the fall we are just stoked to be here with all our friends. I have never played Birmingham. This is our first time so we were stoked. It was an awesome crowd.”

There were a couple of secret shows which fit one of the main themes of musical discovery.  One of those sets was the final late night set at Pale Eddie’s which featured Adam Guthrie as his latest incarnation, ADAM ADAM. 

Adam Guthrie on Bajo Sexto, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Guthrie on Bajo Sexto, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

As Adam was setting up, voices were asking who he was, if anybody had any idea where he was from.  It’s nice to know a well-established Birmingham guitarist who has played with everybody from Rick Carter; Heath Green to The Backrow Baptists could still find a new ear filled with intrigue and amazement. Truth be told, Adam is amazing just by his sheer ability to riff on anything from the aforementioned guitar, to his masterful Ukulele stroking, Bajo Sexto turned punk bass to playing a one stringed electric beer can.

Adam Guthrie – ADAM ADAM, Birmingham, Alabama:

Adam Guthrie, Secret Show at Pale Eddie's, Secret Stages 2013, photo- Brad Hardisty

Adam Guthrie, Secret Show at Pale Eddie’s, Secret Stages 2013, photo- Brad Hardisty

I am so proud to know Brad Hardisty. Travis and Tym, I’m not making sense. It was Travis, it was kind of a last minute thing so I called the people I knew, which were myself and Tym and I’m enjoying the camaraderie of the musicians to be honest.”

Isaac Karns of Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Isaac Karns of Healing Power, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Secret Stages of 2013 found crowds of all ages and color mingling like it was a pub crawl in heaven with plenty of smiles and solid grooves especially from the last two sets at the Miller Lite Stage by the soulful alternative pop psyche of Healing Power fronted by son of Julian Assange look-a-like Isaac Karns and the last set by Amasa Hines with a full horn section.

Amasa Hines, Secret Stages 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Amasa Hines, Secret Stages 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN   thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Infinity Cat 10th Anniversary, Night 2 at The Zombie Shop – all photos / Brad Hardisty

At Exit/In, the night before, night one of the Infinity Cat Records 10th  Anniversary celebration , it was announced that things would start at The Zombie Shop,  Saturday night at 5PM. When I got there, some of the crew was heading out to eat instead of loading in. I stopped them and asked if it was still on. They said it would definitely start by 9 because there were several bands lined up.

This was definitely a casual 5PM start.  I headed over to Panera near Vanderbilt to check my email and chill for a while. I took them at their word and didn’t get back till after 10PM.

I didn’t get home till 3PM from the Exit/In show and I was low on body and mind fuel. This was not going to be an all-nighter when I got back to The Zombie Shop.  The Zombie Shop sits in an area where any pre-2011 buildings’ days are numbered. Just ask the Musicians Hall of Fame (or once was but now is not).

The Zombie Shop, Mopeds all over the back

The Zombie Shop sits directly south of the new Music City Center, with all its curves and gargantuan size, looking somewhat like a super- sized version of the Experience Music Project (home of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia). In the renderings of the new center, the area that comprises the Zombie Shop, looks like it is either new “swanky” office and mixed use (outrageously expensive) space or a new tree-lined boulevard.

One can only hope that the owners of the Zombie Shop get what this large warehouse style workshop with enough open area outside for about 50 cars get what it’s worth and not the shaft like the Musicians Hall of Fame.

To give you an idea, this area of town sits between the homeless shelter (a converted Sears store), Third Man Records on the backside of that and what used to be older cheap use industrial buildings slinking north towards the bright lights, big city of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bridgestone Arena and Lower Broad Honky-Tonks.

This has been essentially no-man’s land where homeless, vagabonds of the western world and punk and metal bands attracting local non-tourists who dare to venture. It was an area where you could be left alone.

Now, the city fathers have decided all things must be come new. So, like the Station Inn that now sits like an old RCA Victrola squashed by all the new zippity doo dah Gulch pricy lofts and swanky shops, this area is quickly being lost to development.

The Zombie Shop has been an all ages venue/hang out for a while and this was perfect for Infinity Cat.  This lineup included the more fast, loud, punk rock side of the label, like Cy Barkley and Heavy Cream along with Breast Massage, Slammers, Denney and The Jets, No Regrets Coyote and Dirty Dreams.

It was an all ages celebration with skateboards, broke down mopeds in the back, young kids, older punk mainstays and label supporters from all over the country.  Saturday saw an even larger crowd than at the Exit/In show.  This is the future of the label. There are a lot of kids buying Infinity Cat stuff that were not old enough to make it into the Exit/In 18+ show.

Cy Barkley & The Wayoutsiders

Cy Barkley & The Wayoutsiders were finishing their set when I got there.

Taking a look at the T-Shirts, I really wanted one of the sky blue T’s with a print of a cat with JEFF The Brotherhood underneath, but none in 2X. In fact, no 2X T’s! Man I can’t help it. I know I need to lose some weight, but, can’t get a 2X? There are more of us than just me.

Thinking about the Skyblazer album, I thought, I want it on CD so I can listen to the long jams while cruising along 65 at night when I head to Birmingham or Florida. It’s only on vinyl for now. Hey, I totally understand. Maybe, I’ll just have to get the vinyl. I still think MP3’s are wannabes. The only time I get MP3’s are when friends send them to me. I like my music to not sound like a BLT without the bacon and extra lettuce.

I ran into a lot of the Infinity Cat strays from Exit/In plus another 200 friends in one of the best house party style gatherings. Enjoy it while it lasts. This type of party might end up having to move out near Little Hamilton or something within five years.  I guess progress means jobs and I can’t fault that part of the equation.

Heavy Cream load in time!

The last time I saw Heavy Cream was almost two years ago, Jessica was in the catsuit and they played at Third Man during Next Big Nashville. That was almost a manic call during those times. The future of Nashville is anybody’s guess with all the “for sale” signs going up on Music Row. Alternative and Punk may not fully take the place of what the music business is losing, but, it makes the Nashville Music Scene more balanced where everybody is welcome.

Heavy Cream kick out the jams at The Zombie Shop, 7/21/2012

This may be Heavy Cream Mach II or III, with a new bass player and drummer, Tiffany Minton, providing a solid ticking away of the timing, not missing a beat. They were locked perfectly. I noticed I’m not the only one who thinks that. I read some reviews online from other shows this morning and they give the same green light. It seemed like the early Heavy Cream version was a group fighting against itself, timing and rhythm wise, which is an easy mistake playing very fast straightforward punk.

Underneath the Infinity Cat banner!

Heavy Cream reminds me of the loud raw energy of Raw Power era Iggy Pop & The Stooges with the comedic lyrical bent of really early Donnas or even pre-Donnas’ Ragady Anne.

Hit the floor!

Jessica has got that “Iggy Pop glare” going on where you don’t know what she is going to do next. If the crowd aint doing enough, Jessica gets in the crowd and starts egging them on. She wants a reaction. I can’t see her smearing peanut butter all over herself, but, she has that “Iggy style front girl bully pulpit” thing better than anybody else in town. Watch out, she can stare you down without blinking.

Everybody was in the cavernous garage when the girls hit the stage. Heavy Cream ripped through a lot of new material from Super Treatment, like “Louise,”recorded in San Francisco with Producer, Ty Segall. The new songs have that raw, loud tightness of other bay area punkers like the Dead Kennedys– “California Uber Alles” and the original MX-80 SoundSomeday You’ll Be King “ that was on The Residents, Ralph Records back in 1979.

Jessica McFarland / Heavy Cream / The Zombie Shop 7/12/2012

Super Treatment, with its almost other worldliness relation to the cover of The CrampsBad Music for Bad People may be the defining Nashville Punk album, much in the same way as Justin Townes Earle’s, The Good Life when it set off true Nashville Americana edge. Super Treatment fits within the true family tree bridging the Nashville Punk scene with West Coast and East Coast Bad Brains grit and swagger.

Jessica

Heavy Cream closed their set with Alice Cooper’s, “Is It My Body” done more in a “what-are-you-staring-at-leave-me-alone” kind of way and finally their biggest song to date, “Watusi” which got the frontline in a friendly Nashville style  slam dance frenzy.

Heavy Cream do the Watusi!

Infinity Cat hung on the back wall, overseeing the crowd as they exited into the dark streets with the new Gotham City Music Center hanging like a dark cloud over the night.

Infinity and beyond!

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Free Infinity Cat Cheese Sandwich!

Friday night in Nashville, as a deluge began about 9:15, the Rock Block turned into a creek with water almost to Restaurant and guitar store doors across the street when Psychic Hotline took to the stage at Exit/In to kick-off a ten year Birthday Bash for Infinity Cat Records, the ”for-real” Nashville Punk Rock label home to JEFF The Brotherhood, Heavy Cream, Diarrhea Planet and other Nashville originals.

Psychic Hotline / Exit/In -all photos – Brad Hardisty

Psychic Hotline, fronted by Jessica McFarland ( Heavy Cream), not to be confused with the Ontario, Canada band, opened with a tight deadpan Buzzcocks / L7 set  like a rapid fire Tommy gun. 

Deluxin’ at Infinity Cat 10th Celebration Show

People were drying out and soaking up the sounds of Deluxin’, another Buzzcocks/ Television / Voidoids (Dad bands) with a somewhat Zach De La Rocha approach at the microphone-style unit fronted by Nathan Vasquez (former Be Your Own Pet) who knows how to put his scream on.

Tristen at Exit/In – Photo/Brad Hardisty

Tristen (Gaspadarek)brought things into a more mellow mood with an Indie take on Americana which may be more attributed to what is coming out of East Nashville, sans-drummer Americana with a drum machine was interesting, but all things aside, Tristen has a great voice, great songs, great bass player (kind of real classic country walking style going on like Merle’s band, The Strangers) and has had some wonderful things said about her in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. Tristen rocked the house in green sequined sixties style short shorts, doin’ a little dance-get down tonight style. This was ladies night for vocals.

All I got was this cheese sandwich, Jessica’s Psychic Hotline setlist and Diarrhea Planet’s setlist. What’s it worth to you?

Before Diarrhea Planet took over Exit/In, Robert Orrall, Jake and Jamin’s Dad (JEFF The Brotherhood) brought out a huge box of cheese sandwiches in plastic sandwich bags with Green Infinity Cat Logo stickers affixed and began throwing them out into the audience, this in turn, lead to spinning plastic bags being thrown around with the hefty sideways Frisbee-bean bag style tosses whizzing by everywhere.

Diarrhea Planet pelted by sandwiches!

When Diarrhea Planet hit the stage, the sandwiches started being aimed at the band with drummer, Casey, drumming like a sonic hedgehog with two Louisville Sluggers, taking some head and crotch shots. Casey could only laugh when it’s sandwiches. The 50 sandwich-filled plastic bags ended up back onstage when the  four guitar (yeah, four, that’s one more than Lynyrd Skynyrd in a “Spinal Tap” my band is louder than yours kind of way) assault started.

Stack-O-Sandwiches! No cats were harmed.

One of the guitarists started stacking up the sandwiches on the side, only to hurl all of them back at the audience toward the end of the set.

Diarrhea Planet originally started as a two-piece noise band out of Belmont University and is now kind of the Valiant Thorr of Indie Punk, throwing out all kinds of styles at the same time with a wall of Johnny Ramone, Randy Rhoads, John Frusciante and Malcom Young all hitting at once, with leads and interlocking rhythm going every which way.  There were no lead breaks since any two might be playing lead at the same time. This is fun party music that kind of goes down like a Peelander-Z set meets the Beastie Boys. If you play guitar and you don’t have a good time at a Diarrhea Planet show, something is definitely wrong with you. Okay, I think this is one of my favorite Nashville bands now.

Robert Orrall, Nashville City Council member, Infinity Cat Records staff, Jake Orrall

Before the final set of the night, Ronny Steine, Nashville Councilman-at-large, was joined onstage by Robert “Bob” Orrall, Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, Skyblazer, Infinity Cat Records) and members of the Infinity Cat team to accept a plaque from the Nashville Metro Council with a lot of important “whereas” clauses, Resolution No. RS2012-339, “honoring Infinity Cat Recordings on its Tenth Anniversary as one of Nashville’s best independent labels.”  A really unique turn of events; a Nashville Homegrown Indie Punk label turning ten years old that is on most every writer and magazine in the states Top 10 best Indie label list, having their very own day, July 20th, 2012, Infinity Cat Record Day, Nashville, Represent!

Skyblazer returns!

For the final big one of the evening, Jake and Jamin Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, if you don’t know by now) put back together a mid-2000 project, Skyblazer (possibly named for the early Nineties Sony video game?), that they had with Lindsay (Cake Bake Betty) Powell. Skyblazer also released (never before released) the 2006 recording on Infinity Cat and it was available for the first time at the show on 12 inch vinyl.

Jake and Jamim Orrall looking Through the Past darkly!

Jake’s guitar tone was nice and fat with trippy wha going into that Sunn Lead Concert head.  The four piece band did plenty of long stoner jams in the veins of early Hawkwind or Black Mountain (who were quite new in 2006)… especially like Black Mountain with the almost Jefferson Plane-ish twin harmonies of Jake and Lindsay.

It was a fun set, plenty of heavy “Iommi” guitar, with some almost Hendrix channeling, Jake is really a soul surfer of a player.

If Skyblazer had become the dominant thing, Jake and Jamin would have been on Jagjaguwar and touring with Black Mountain or even Swedish band, Graveyard nowadays. Funny how life is; the Orrall family is really helping to turn Nashville into Music City one great band at a time.  

The Infinity Cat Records 10th Anniversary celebration continues Saturday Night in the shadow of the new convention center skyline at The Zombie Shop with Heavy Cream and Cy Barkley as two of the featured artists.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Thin Lizzy, 1978, Brian Robertson, Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, drums

Nashville talents takes on Thin Lizzy once again when Jimmy The Weed rocks tomorrow night, June 30th at Mercy Lounge down on Cannery Row.

Black Rose at The 5 Spot, Photo- Steve Cross

This will be the third incarnation of a Thin Lizzy tribute in Nashville over the last few years. The first was a group put together from some local talent called Black Rose, who did a great set at The 5 Spot in 2010, with bass player, Justin Taylor, a dead-on, unimaginable representation with the look, voice and style of Phil Lynott, in the same way as some of the best Jim Morrison acts like Wild Child that used to do his thing out in L.A.

The next Thin Lizzy throw down was at Mercy Lounge on Saint Patty’s Day in 2011. This turned into a little bit of a “well-intentioned” mess. It was suppose to be two bands and only one showed and they only knew a few Thin Lizzy songs, just enough to satisfy a real Irish night of rock. The best song they did was “Johnny” off of Johnny The Fox, which I had never actually seen Thin Lizzy perform.

Jimmy The Weed, was an actual British Gangster, who has written an autobiography that was the inspiration behind the Thin Lizzy song, “Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed.” The album was somewhat of a rock opera with some songs about “Johnny” weaved throughout the record.

I saw Thin Lizzy, or rather met Thin Lizzy, on the Johnny The Fox Tour. They were out on the road opening for Queen, who had a big radio hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” from their current album, A Night At The Opera.

I was really looking forward to the show as Thin Lizzy and Queen were two of my favorite bands at the time. The day before the show, it was announced that Queen would not be at the Selland Arena show in Fresno, California in 1977. Freddie Mercury had some health problems.

I was afraid Thin Lizzy was going to cancel, but, the promoter made a radio announcement that Thin Lizzy would go on with Sammy Hagar (a perennial Fresno favorite) opening. One could either go to the show or get their money back. The arena was about 85% full instead of a sell-out with then openers, Thin Lizzy headlining.

My friend Bob Martin had managed to get a photo with Ritchie Blackmore when his new band, Rainbow had come to town, by going down to the Fresno Hilton after school to see if the band would check in and sure enough they did.

Brad talking with Scott Gorham, Thin Lizzy, 1976, Selland Arena, Fresno, CA

Bob was sure we could do the same thing and so there we were, High School Sophomores, hanging out at The Fresno Hilton when the members of Thin Lizzy checked in. We recognized Phil Lynott and Scott Gorham right away, but no sign of Brian “Robbo” Robertson. It turned out the other guitarist for that tour was Gary Moore, who we had never heard of. If only we had known. I have a photo at the hotel where Gary Moore is standing behind Phil.

Well, Thin Lizzy invited us to show up for sound check in a half hour and we did. I got a few shots with my Kodak Instamatic Camera at sound check.

Backstage at Selland Arena, Fresno, CA, with Sammy Hagar

We also met Sammy Hagar and he invited us in for 15 minutes or so to hang with his band that at the time featured Denny Carmassi, drums, Bill “The Electric” Church, bass, who both played with Sammy Hagar in Montrose and a lead guitarist named Gary Pihl, who looked just like Tom Scholz in Boston and in fact ended up playing in Boston after Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen.

Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore years, Scott, Gary Moore, Not Brian Downey, probably in Australia, and Phil Lynott

What do I remember about talking to Thin Lizzy? Well, we went to talk to Phil who had camped out in one of the arena seats to get an idea of what the stage looked like from the audience. My friend, Bob, wasn’t sure how to be polite so he said, “Sir?” and Phil said, “Don’t call me fu**ing sir!” Then he grinned, we chuckled and just let him know how much we liked the song structures and the sound of the band.

I ended up hanging out with Scott Gorham for a short time and we talked about Ritchie Blackmore and how much Scott made playing in Thin Lizzy. I was expecting an accent, but, it turned out he was from L.A.

It was a great show, starting out with “Jailbreak” with police lights and police radio calls filling up the arena as the band walked on and started kicking out the jams. “The Boys Are Back In Town” actually became a radio hit when the Johnny The Fox album was out. It was from the previous album “Jailbreak” but for whatever reason it became a big radio hit during that tour.

It is interesting how some bands as they become ancient history age like a vintage Harley Davidson. Thin Lizzy just seems to get more respect as time rolls on.  They really were the root band of the twin metal guitar attack with twin leads whether you think of Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Megadeath, Metallica (who did “Whiskey In The Jar” on their Garage Days Revisited album), Def Leppard, Judas Priest all the way through what is now high bred twin lead death metal.

Thin Lizzy is like the Hank Williams of all that. Phil was a great storyteller (“Johnny The Fox”), hopeless romantic ( “Sweet Marie”), weaving Irish folklore (“Black Rose”) with ruthless tales of the rougher side of town (“Chinatown”) and at the same time remained true to his feelings (“Dedication”) and even personal prayers of faith (“Dear Lord”)became a part of his song cycle.

He wanted to imagine Thin Lizzy as a band remembered for their guitar players like The Yardbirds, which it did accomplish, but the songwriting depth and honest gut feel that Phil put into his music and lyrics gained even the respect of punk rock England who sided with the band and Phil when they threw their wrath at Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. They considered Thin Lizzy to be one of them also.

The Greedy Bastards: Thin Lizzy Meets The Sex Pistols, Paul Cook and Steve Jones down front and become a band

Phil became fast friends with Steve Jones and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols and even played on Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls) solo album, So Alone on “Daddy Rollin’ Stone “ which also featured Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie).

Featuring: Phil Lynott

You can find almost every Thin Lizzy album at Grimeys, just like a classic indie Red Hot Chili Peppers or Janes Addiction record. There is nothing like hearing twin lead guitar harmonies being played by two guitar players and not a harmonization digital stompbox.  Thin Lizzy is meant to be heard Live and so it is.

Opening for Jimmy The Weed will be Blockhead and The East Side Gamblers.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Tickets go on sale this Friday, August 5th through mercylounge.com and AEGlive.com for the October 18th Jack’s Mannequin show at The Cannery Ballroom. A lot has happened since the 2005 release of Everything In Transit which went to #37 on Billboard.

Andrew McMahon recently stated on AbsolutePunk.net, “In the time following the last Jack’s album the people in my world were moving in together, getting married, trying to find quote unquote ‘real jobs’ and reconciling new lives that looked a lot less like youth than some of us cared for.”

Jack’s Mannequin will release the long awaited follow up People and Things on October 4th. The first single is being released Friday and deals with serious relationships straight up.

“ Marriage is a bit of a beast to tackle in a pop record but when I wrote “My Racing Thoughts,” it became clear how powerful and loaded a subject this kind of love is and somewhere in that moment I began to lock into the broad concept for the writing sessions to come.”

The band, which started in Orange County, California, began as a side project for Andrew McMahon, former frontman for the band Something Corporate. In 2005, McMahon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), just months before the release of Jack’s Mannequin’s debut studio album.

Motion City Soundtrack and Company of Thieves will serve as support for the show.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Future of Saturday Morning TV

In what may be a mindbender on an unsuspecting audience, Peelander-Z from Japan unleashed the craziest show to ever roll into Exit/In if not the Next Big Nashville 2010 Conference. Equal parts Aquabats Super Heroes and Flaming Lips larger than life costume changes, they made their entrance marching like 80’s band Toy Dolls with Peelander Yellow acting as ringmaster for all the kids on the playground.

I was forewarned if not recommended by Kyle Bowen of Modoc when I asked what band to check out this year. He said you got to check out Give Me Smile from Japan. I looked through the scheduled appearances and had no idea what he was talking about. On Friday night while exiting Third Man Records after the Heavy Cream set I ran into these two Japanese Guys in Yellow and Red and asked if they had heard of Give Me Smile. They just smiled exclaiming “oh! Oh!” and handed me a CD with what looked like a band named Peelander-Z?

Peelander-Z at Exit/In

I threw it in the car and was met with a barrage of The Banana Splits meets Motorhead. This was a Japanese band not even trying to fake their way through the English language, they were downright mangling words like “Ugly”. I almost had to pull over from laughing to tears while driving my car.

Finally, the words come on “Welcome to our show, next time bring Mom and Dad…give me smile, give me smile, give me smile”. Oh man, it’s the “Give me Smile” guys. Okay I had to check this one out. Luckily enough it was at Exit/In where I wanted to go check out Cheer up Charlie Daniels and Heypenny already.

Crowd Surfing Bassist

No one could have prepared you for this band live. It was tight Motorhead speed with twists and turns that occasionally stopped for audience participation in bowling games or a bunny hop style line of follow the leader behind bassist Peelander Red. Dressed in primary colors of Red, Yellow and Green on drums, they took as much from The Ramones as the Aquabats. If Peelander Yellow was the ringmaster who was equal parts Lemmy and Pat Morita from Karate Kid, Peelander Red was the instigator jumping into the audience at random, a flying Ninja jumping off a full Ampeg SVT cabinet up at least 10 feet in the air before landing onstage.

We were encouraged to sing along to unforgettable classics like “E-I-O” and “Medium Rare “with the crowd yelling like a frenzied table at Benihanas before taking all of us back to that response to “Rock and Roll High School”, with “Ninja High School”. Nashvillians were in a frenzy beating on what looked like hubcaps passed out by a magical Peelander Pink who would appear out of nowhere sometimes onstage or in the rafters.

MAD TIGER!!!

Peelander Black added a little lead guitar and mysterious vibe to the mix. Peelander-Z would at a moment throw on bigger than life bowling pin outfits or Mad Tiger headgear for very special songs about Mad Tiger and Bowling.  One guy jumped on stage and thought he was going to just groove with the band when they all stopped and stared at him. Peelander Yellow kissed him on the cheek and he quietly faked a stage dive off the front sans music. That had everybody laughing.

At the end, they pulled people up and replaced the entire band with audience members on drums, guitar and bass while they were in the audience skipping rope or whatever. They finally worked back up on stage and finished out the last song.

Peelander Pink Cheerleader

If somebody was trying to find something serious about this stuff they came to the wrong set. This was all about a good time and to me was the high point of the Conference. There will be plenty of time for more structured thoughtful music but for now it was “Schoolhouse Rock” singing about steak and watching Superhero Japanese Anime in primary colors run amuck.

Even Lucas who was in town from Denver to see Widespread Panic at the Ryman said “I have to admit that was the first time I ever saw a full on Redneck moshing!”  Peelander-Z wore out the audience with full participation! This was a primary color and primary rock and roll extravaganza!

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN      thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Peelander-Z at actual Velocity!