Monday, April 26, 2010

The Legendary Shack Shakers bring down the house at Lafayette Brewing Company

The Lafayette Brewing Company has seen its fair share of incredible acts over the years, but last Saturday’s performance by the Legendary Shack Shakers is sure to be one of the most memorable.

Nashville’s own Legendary Shack Shakers have spent the last two decades peddling their backwoods blend of punk rock, traditional Appalachian folk music and Delta blues while opening for such acts as the Reverend Horton Heat and Hank Williams III. Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin is also an admitted fan of The Shack Shakers, having the band open for him on his recent European tour. The true embodiment of psychobilly and cowboy-punk, the Legendary Shack Shakers are like a Dixie version of Flogging Molly, choosing moonshine over Guinness. This Appalachian wild bunch put on a show that should not have been missed.

Opening for the Legendary Shack Shakers was Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company from Kansas City, Mo. Clad in Western suits, ribbon ties and pomade-slicked hair, this threesome of good ol’ boys had the cowboys’ toes tapping and their sweethearts’ hips swinging. It’d be easy to walk in and assume that this was a Johnny Cash tribute band or a group of 1950s musicians who had just woken up from cryostasis, picked up their instruments and started to play the last song they’d heard, but these guys are the real deal. Playing old-fashioned country and blues, Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company make weekend trips to other parts of the heartland to play the music that has been inspiring artists since the ’40s and ’50s.

“We’re just trying to bring back that old honky-tonk,” said standup bass player Dave Boomerang.

As the Dead Horse Sound Company finished its set, the audience rushed to refill their drinks as the headliners prepared their set. Many a Stetson-capped cowboy, Southern belle and punk rocker crowded in toward the dim lighting surrounding the stage.

The Legendary Shack Shakers took the stage, ferociously led by the Kentucky-born, harmonica-playing Col. J.D. Wilkes, who has been called by many “the last great rock ‘n’ roll frontman.” Wilkes’ stage performance was more than just a performance; it was like watching a revival and a barn-burning with hints of an exorcism sprinkled in for good measure. The petite Wilkes flailed while roaring his Scotch-soaked lyrics into a blues harp microphone, alternatively howling through his harmonica like a steam whistle.

Lafayette natives Ked Green and Bridgette Kahn were among the many patrons there for the wild show, but they knew what to expect of the Shack Shakers.

“I made a pact with the devil. If these guys play within 500 miles of here, I’ll be there,” said Green. “It’s a real treat that they’re here tonight.”

“They’re legendary!” said Kahn. “When we saw them in Indy, (Wilkes) got so worked up, he tore out his chest hair!”

It turned out that this was not a one-time occurrence. In the midst of singing mere inches from a spectator’s face, Wilkes forcefully yanked out a handful of body hair and cast it skyward. He did this twice. Along with this semi-masochistic display, Wilkes would also dip his hands into the glasses of beer which were being held up to him and cast the amber liquid over the audience, as well as pantomiming the act of ripping out his own heart, taking a bite and then spitting it out in disgust.

Wilkes’ music and lyrics are inspired by his upbringing in Paducah, Ky. They are both fond and deranged, nostalgic and bitter. He sings of times before suburban sprawl and strip malls, while also cautioning against the poisonous backwoods swamps, and as any good Pentecostal would do, he also throws in a little religious flavor. Wilkes brings down the applause as he begins his next song, saying “All right, this one’s not meant for Lafayette, Ind. This one ain’t meant for you. This one’s for Jeebus!”

After playing their full set and two encores, the Shack Shakers finally called it a night and a victory in the name of country and rock ‘n’ roll. The Legendary Shack Shakers will be continuing their Agri-dustrial Tour, traveling all through the Midwest, South and Gulf Coast, where they will wrap up their tour in Dallas.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Record Store Day 2010
Documented for all you lovely people to gawk at and be amazed by.

The very talented Kristina Kostur photographed most of the shenanigans for Von's. RabbitRabbit did the rest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Album Reviews from the Week of 4/11-4/17

MGMT - “Congratulations”

Three years after their smash debut “Oracular Spectacular,” MGMT’s sophomore effort falls short of expectations. “Congratulations”, the band’s second album, lacks the upbeat, high-energy optimism of “Oracular,” which gained popularity through tracks such as the much-loved and oft-remixed “Kids.” “Congratulations” is more subdued, but not relaxed. It’s not chilled out, it’s restrained. Put simply, most of the album is boring.

Tracks such as the 12-minute long “Siberian Breaks,” which the band describes as a “pop surf opera,” do little to give listeners anything fun enough to move to or anything laid-back enough to groove to. However, all is not lost. The punchy shout-out to producer and musician Brian Eno in the aptly-named track “Brian Eno” adds a much-needed, up-tempo boost to the album. The band takes this opportunity to praise their musical ancestors: “We’re always one step behind him, he’s Brian Eno.”

Final Review Haiku: “Congratulations,” Don’t pat yourself on the back. Two stars out of five.

Codeine Velvet Club - “Codeine Velvet Club”

The new solo project by The Fratellis’ frontman Jon Lawler and Scottish songstress Lou Hickey, “Codeine Velvet Club” is the band’s self-titled debut album. “Codeine” is a mix of big band swing and gin joint sulk, with a taste of the U.K. indie-punk that is more characteristic of Lawler’s usual fare.

Sexy and suave, the album’s single “Vanity Kills” launches in with Hickey sweetly crooning the melody; Lawler joins in with his coarse tenor. This track would be right at home in a noir film as an auburn-haired beauty charms a haggard private investigator out from the bottom of his bottle.

Final Review Haiku: Seedy burlesque rock. Totally worth a listen. Four stars out of five.

Coheed and Cambria - “Year of the Black Rainbow”

In a continuation of the legend that Coheed and Cambria has cultivated over the past decade, the band’s fifth studio album, “Year of the Black Rainbow,” is meant to serve as a prequel to the rest of the band’s musical saga. Claiming that every album is a concept album and a new chapter into the fictional “Amory Wars,” Coheed and Cambria have created the rock ‘n’ roll equivalent of the Iliad with their careers.

“Rainbow” furthers this tale as lead singer Claudio Sanchez’s vocals, which can be likened to a heavy metal Steve Perry, soar over the band’s sweeping, epic method of musical storytelling. The album’s second single, “Here We Are Juggernaut,” plays on the delicate balance between the band’s fantasy metal arrangements and their surprisingly personal lyrics as the battle rages between scorned love and a vital struggle: “It’s not your playground, it’s my heart... We’ll bury our burdens in blood. Becoming stronger juggernaut.”

Final Review Haiku: The epic tale goes on. Turn speakers to eleven. Four stars out of five.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17th

I love my job :D

Monday, April 5, 2010

Record Store Day 2010 is coming!

(Poster by the amazing John Dvorchak of The Witchdoctors)

The Line-up:
Outdoor Stage
(Between Von's and the Lovvvvshack):
12:00-1pm Narrow House
1-2pm The Prannies
2-3pm The Flintlocks
3-4pm Fredericks Martinez
4-5pm Root Hog
5-6pm Springload
6-7pm Sixdollarsuit
7-8pm The Witchdoctors
8-9pm Theophagy

11-11:30am 2nd Place Acorn
11:30-12am The Prannies
12:30-1pm Accidental Embroidery
2-2:30pm Mike Golden & Friends
2:30-3pm Paul K
3-4pm Brian the Haan
4-5pm John Dvorchak
6-6:30pm 2nd Place Acorn
6:30-7pm Seven Car Pile-Up
7-7:30pm Sanjay
8-9pm John Stossel's Mustache