The Devil’s Show

Well, the show at the Elbo Room the other night was just great. It did start out a little, well… soft, but we went on second and got things really rolling. Ya see, the booking agent put a band called the Renegades on first and they couldn’t have been a worse match with the rest of the bands. They were wanking each other off the whole set. All three of them had sheet music and it seemed like the ‘main guy’ had all of his stage banter on sheet music too. They were young and had talent, if you consider talent taking turns doing solos and other assorted self indulgent feats. I would call it elevator fusion jam schlock with a keyboard, bass and drumset. Not so good.

When I realized what they were like, before they started their set, I knew I had to go find a CD from my car that would instantly change the vibe as soon as they had finished their set. So between Danielson’s new record, Hot Snakes‘ Suicide Invoice and Craw’s last record, I chose Craw. I know, some of you would argue for the Hot Snakes, but Craw just had that Devil’s edge that we really needed. So the soundguy agreed to play it when the Renegades (what a funny name for such a lame band) finished and it really turned things around immediately. I just love Craw.

Anyway, we started off with Seek and Destroy and quickly evolved into 20miles Westward (My Dad and Texans). About half way in, we played the beginning of South of Heaven by Slayer as well and quickly morphed into Heliocentric Model. We were in fine form and all the songs seemed tight and pretty rocking from where I was standing. Most folks agreed.

The Solace Bros are just fantastic. With a baritone Danelectro, a Crumar and an old Slingerland, they fused pop and rock and a bit of soul like no other trio I have seen in a while. And in a little homage to Bakelite 78, they leapt off stage after their last number, grabbed some ukelele’s and played an old Pere Ubu cover in the middle of the room to a gathered crowd that chimed in off-key on the choruses. Was a nice way to end their set. (Apparently, according to Mr. Polle of the Solace, they have been doing this all tour with a few songs and it has been going over quite well. He suggested I pick up a cheap uke and try it myself.)

As soon as the Solace Bros were finished, Bakelite 78 grabbed their gear and set up in the middle of the floor. As quickly as you can put the needle to an old 78 on a grammaphone, these guys jumped right in with their old time goodness. With a standup bass, clarinet, a horn (not sure what kind exactly, something trumpet-like), a jumbo ukelele (?), washboard, accordian and other assorted instruments, these guys took us back, way back – without any amplification. Infact, the singer just has one of these cones (like a cheerleader has) mounted to a mic stand for his vocals. It sounded great and was very entertaining. They are playing all over town, so keep your eye out.

And from there, with Slayer blasting from my car, I peeled off into the night.