Monday, June 2, 2024

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: The McKenzies, The Gold Sounds, and Sad Like Crazy 31 May 2024

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:46 PM

Saturday night was not all right for fighting or much else. Let's face it, a full day of non-stop fun with your wee tyke makes for a very tired and grumpy adult when he hears the call of a sofa at the end of the day. The good thing is, if the music is good, fatigue usually fades away - at least for the most part. Sure, it makes for a less over the top evening but the upside is it's easier on the pocketbook when it's time for me to pay my tab.

So while fatigued and mlaa was how I felt when I walked into the Mink, it didn't last long. How could I? The opening band was The McKenzies - local indie popsters that will wake you up better than a case of Red Bull. They have this wonderful amorphous and primordial energy - cute, spunky, and nervous - that suggests a band just figuring out what it can do and thrilled at every step. This night that energy was particularly giddy with the band cutting up, goofing, and jumping about like I'd never seen them before. Miguel and Jodie sang some lovely harmonies but they also basked in silly stage banter with Jodie playing foil to Miguel's tipsy and giddy commentary. This is exactly the kind of stuff that irks some people as being unprofessional but the room was intimate and friendly so why not kick back and relax - let the music take care of itself. Sure enough the music swung with a youthful energy that was pushed forward by drummer Matt whose neat red shirt and skinny black tie belied the bludgeoning his drums suffered. The music played sweet and at other times raucous but always with that energy of "Isn't this neat? Isn't this fun?" to which you can only succumb to their charms and admit "Yes! Yes it is!"

The Gold Sounds - while also being fun - came for one thing and one thing only - to kill. Previewing them on Myspace did nothing to prepare me for what they unleash live. They had to be the most motley yet stylish band I'd seen in quite some time - a drummer with hair right out of a 70s after-school special, a bassist with a polyester shirt that made my seashell shirt pale in comparison, and a guitarist that looked like he just stepped out of some International Artists studio session. Well, they sure looked interesting and as the band tried to get some bass issues resolved I kept looking at my watch furiously. "Well," I thought, "maybe I can catch one song if they can get it together." Eventually, with a loaner bass amp, the bass sounded a few dirty notes to everyone's relief, the drums kicked it, and it was on! That surfer dude drummer may have looked harmless but the second his sticks hit the skins with a Bonham-like Boom you knew they meant business. The bassist took the lead vocals and belted the songs through his Tom Petty teeth like whatever the fuck he was selling was gonna save your life so you'd better listen up. The guitarist meanwhile played with an extremely thin tone suggesting a huge 60s garage fixation and then literally threw himself into the music. By the end of the first song, it was "Oh, maybe one more." then by the end of the second song it was "Oh, OK, maybe just one more" and so on. Their no holds barred energy was incredible and it took a lot of effort to walk away from with that ragged Frank Davis garage sound. That sound is something you'd never know from their recordings which is why I never understood why the band always described itself as psychedelic and 60's until I heard them live. And, unlike their EP, where their influences ran roughshod over them, live this band clearly is its own master. Goddamn! Imagine what would happen if they could corral what they do on record. Ah is sold!

So with the midnight hour I apologized to Awake for having to miss their set (second show in a row I've missed and they are painfully good) and made my way over to Rudyard's. Somehow I made it in time as Sad Like Crazy were just getting ready to play. Now, if you were around at the turn of the century you may recall SLC as being somewhat ubiquitous but babies and relocations silenced the band in the early part of this decade. Well, I'm glad to report that Mari, Trey, and Thane still have the same lovely energy they had when they put the band on hold. For me, it was much the same thrill I got as when I saw Kyle Gionis return to the stage with Welfare Mothers last year. Perhaps this is a good trend with the older rock set. Maybe, with the kids being a bit older, parents have a bit more time to devote to music or maybe the kids just make good roadies now. Who knows. Who cares. When the band is as good as SLC it's just great to see them back at it. And everyone at Rudz was pretty thrilled too. Ben Murphy taunted Thane Pool by demanding he "Try harder!" and other friends teased them by demanding they play "a good song" which of course Mary obliged with a laugh and two extremely sassy middle fingers. That pretty much captured the laid back and jovial mood. Sure there were some sound problems (if you were too close to hear Joe's mix, Mari's guitar was being blown away by Trey's borrowed amp for a time) but, overall, it was a lovely night of sweet indie guitar rock with all it's born of the college airwaves tropes. For me, the biggest kick is the guitars and how the melodies weave around each other with such grace. Sure, they may not be Warren of Golden Axe but they don't need to be; they knows how to drop a perfect melodic counter-punch with a six string and that can be quite devastating. Quite devastating indeed.

Viva Los McKenzies
Matt - rocking the kit so hard

that Miguel falls to his knees!

Snappily dressed Guitarist?


Bassist with a sweet polyester shirt?


Drummer that looks like he can surf,

drives a van, and can score really good weed?

There was a lot of fallin' to your knees
goin' down at the Mink

but where is the dude with the cape?

Sad Like Crazy ain't getting down on their knees!

They rock upright!
Trey Pool

his stance says
Am I trying hard enough for Ben Murphy?
If not, why? Why?

Mari Pool

Her stance says
I came here to rock!
as well as
Die Ben Murphy! Die

The McKenzies
The Gold Sounds
Sad Like Crazy

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