Saturday, November 7, 2009

show @ American Legion (11/7/09)

There seems to be a major influx of garage rock these days. In a few years will we look back and decide this particular period of lo-fi constituted a "wave?" Are we looking at the new grunge? Probably not, especially since radio rock hasn't progressed past post-Pearl Jam (post-Creed?) thickneck rock for the past ten years. (A quick aside: why the stark disparity in quality between radio hip-hop/r&b and radio rock? Although all non-satellite stations have agonizingly redundant playlists, a lot of what they've been playing the last few years has been pretty innovative, dare we say 'experimental,' particularly in the realm of production. There's some heavy shit going on in those Rick Ross and Gucci Mane singles. Don't get us started on The-Dream. What was the last aesthetically notable rock band that got any commercial airplay? Nirvana? Jesus, is the answer Radiohead? We've been stuck in a pit of the aforementioned jock-gurgle-rock and nth generation "pop-punk" / "emo" for what seems like forever.) So you're not going to hear Wavves or The Vivian Girls outside of college stations anytime soon, but it is safe to say that nu-garage is a dominant paradigm of contemporary indie rock. This is a double-edged sword. The negative: like any trend, you end up with a lot of compositional complacency / fill-in-the-blank technique / straight up generic output. The positive (the direct response to the negative): the more creative members of "the scene" take the opportunity to expand on concepts and themes in a way that almost entirely reinvents the prompt at hand. And hey, at least it's not "Tropical."

Last night Yussuf Jerusalem stopped by The American Legion for an evening of blasted eardrums, chain smoking and bands playing in near total darkness. The line-up featured some heavy hitters from Miami's version of the garage explosion.

Before we get to the actual show, it's worth emphasizing once more what an exciting venue The Legion is. So much space to hang, the backyard is huge and right on the water, the drinks are cheap, the acoustics are right-on. This place is perfect and it's existence will be a continued experiment to see if Miami can sustain "nice things" that aren't clubs (not that there's anything wrong with those, but outside of Churchill's we don't have a whole lot of options that feature live music as the primary attraction).

This Heart Electric
This Heart Electric

Melted Sunglasses
Melted Sunglasses

This Heart Electric got the crowd warmed up with pop histrionics and Melted Sunglasses kicked off the evening's garage buffet. Word from the members was their set consisted of primarily (or maybe entirely) new material. Their style was strikingly heavy, a blend of chunky 70s-style proto-punk and knuckle-dragging bar rock swagger. The latter influence was particularly effective as rendered through the bassist's rock and roll sex falsetto, often paired in call-and-response fashion with the guitarist's more straightforward shouts and hollers.

Jacuzzi Boys
After a few minutes of cacophonous, crowd-amping warm-up/tuning the singer of Jacuzzi Boys started their set with a bold declaration: "I'm fucking ripped and hope all of you are too." What followed was an appropriately raucous set complete with what looked to be a bonafide pogo pit. A lot of nu-garage bands are described as "post-Velvets" but the Jacuzzi Boys are decidedly post-Stooge. And we're talking Funhouse, none of that "Iggy and..." bullshit (OK, Raw Power is a good record, but the soft focus Bowie production drains the nasty oomph that made the first two LPs actually raw ) High energy, dirty buzzsaw riffs and raunchy solos, the Jacuzzi Boys, on the heals of a new LP on Florida's Dying, killed it.

Yussuf Jerusalem

Yussuf Jerusalem, the second rock and roll band from France to make it to Miami this fall, played a relatively straightforward rock set that every now and then dipped into bizarre and exciting interludes of heavy (almost metal/hardcore?) pummeling.


Michael said...

I whole-heartedly agree with your introduction. I honestly don't think enough people pay close enough attention to mainstream radio (meaning the 99 jamz end of the spectrum)to allow for much to go beyond guitar-driven mediocrity. I don't just mean production either; there's plenty of room to fit in a lil freakiness into the garage.

roofless said...

I would love to hear a version of Times New Viking's "Rip It Off" where the production was still earsplittingly tinny but the vocals sounded like T-Pain. Maybe it's time to start a Roofless Remix series.

Michael said...

I'm into it. I'll surgically implant an auto-tuner as concept brews.

The Bizant said...

what up. that's me in the green wind breaker with the hair standing behind fams, standing next to the kid with the unbuttoned flanel with his shit all out.

i went out there with him, the other kid with the flannel with the hat, and the one sitting down and the blue shirt.

that show was ill.

The Bizant said...

lol in this picture.

this heart electric.

The Bizant said...

lol and also note: this picture:

that empty ceiling spot, i did that shit. when Gabriel was tryna put a hole in it with his guitar, he got it loose and i came up and power smacked that shit.