Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Jon Benet, Sharks and Sailors, Oh Pioneers, and Closet City @ Walters Dead Roses and The Wiggins @ River Oaks
Let me just say that doing yardwork and getting covered in a blanket of pollen before heading out to see a Jon Benet show may not be the smartest idea. Nevertheless, a short nap, some Mountain Dew, some Claratin, and I was pretty good to go…well at least for most of the night.
Over at Walters, I got in early enough to catch the opening band, Closet City, who played a short but pretty solid set. Given the heavy riffing, the vocalist screaming, and the loud-ass drummer you’d have thought these guys would move a bit more but no. The guitarist, for example, would run through these great riffs and aside from his fretting hand nothing moved. But performance aside, the music was pretty solid straight-up hardcore with metal tinges. PS guys, you don’t have to ask people meekly to come on up closer to the stage, just rock and they will come.
Oh Pioneers were, for me, the biggest kick of the evening. Eric was, as usual, busting his lungs with his vocals and squeezing every ounce of emotion he could out of each song. That was no surprise but with Papermoons filling in as Eric’s rhythm section, the songs played as they’ve never done before. The bass was a revelation as it filled out the sound from the more thin sound and almost Big Black-like crunch of the Chris Ryan era. That’s no complaint on those shows (which were great) but the songs clearly needed that low end to give them some color and warmth. Nice surprise guys.
Sharks and Sailors followed with another solid set. I stood in front of Mike’s amps and got the full dose of the stereo Marshall/Mesa amp set-up which is really sweet. [ I always wonder how it would sound if those cabinets were more spread out. Would it have any effect? Just wonderin’. ] Phil and Melissa proved why they are such a formidable rhythm section with their great bass lines and powerful drums. The best moment was the closing song (Condor?), which plays it smart enough to hold back and play-up the dynamics for all it’s worth. The song swings into this shimmering atmospheric part near the end then roars into a a full force coda that simply kills. When is that new album coming out?
The Jon Benet closed the evening and proved why they have it so tough as a band. Here is the Jon Benet’s problem. How the hell do you get what they do onto a recording? Their shows are simply incredible. Micahel Murland is a great frontman. He howls, screams, spits, and flings his body about getting all the boys up in front of the stage in a frenzy of fists in the air and screaming. The guitars are loud. The drums unstoppable. That force that hits you live is why, no matter how great they are as a band, their albums leave me cold. It’s like that first MC5 record. Imagine if they’d recorded that in the studio? No way! It’s impossible and they knew they couldn’t do that! The Jon Benet should maybe consider the same – get the sweat, spit, and bruising of their live shows on a release. That would be incredible. Oh the curse of being TOO good live!
At Midnight, I headed off to the River Oaks Theatre as I heard The Wiggins and Dead Roses were playing upstairs. Mind you, by this time, I was pretty beat but it was on the way home – why not? I got there and found a small wedding party, the Young Mammals, and the Wild Moccasins hanging out. It was pretty low-key affair as the next hour consisted of the bands setting up and, if I was beat when I arrived at midnight, by 1 am (when things started) I was furiously nodding off. The Wiggins‘ set was, to be honest, a disappointment but it was still an honorable try. His hand, wrist, or arm (I’m not sure which) was injured and he clearly was having trouble playing guitar as his set went on. Finally, after about four songs, he just couldn’t physically do it. He apologized, gave it one more failed attempt, apologized again, and sadly ended his set. Well, at least he gets points for a valiant effort.
While I was really dead, I stuck around for most of the Dead Roses set. (Hey, I actually liked them with a drum machine.) Ralph’s vocals were outstanding and the guitars sounded great. It was probably the quietest Dead Roses show I’d seen but still solid. Bonus were the Betty Page films running behind them which (along with my fatigue) added a surreal quality. Lovely set but after about 2am I had to turn-in before I fell asleep on the road. Still, it was worth sticking around to see.
One last thing, the 2am departure meant I didn’t make it to Dunnock’s birthday shindig at the Mink so, hey Dunnock, Happy Birthday.
Dead Roses & the Wiggins (Flickr Link)
Jon Benet, Sharks and sailors, Oh Pioneers, Closet city (Flickr Link)
by Guest Author