Artist(s): Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Box Elders, and Useless Eaters
Location: Harpers Ferry, Alston, MA
Date: Friday, October 2, 2009
Pre-Show Activity: Doors opened at 8, so we arrived at 8, but that was not good enough apparently. Doors were now to open at 8:30. In the meantime we shot the shit with Billy, drummer for Nobunny, whom would later play before Jay Reatard. Billy was a great guy and provided Glen and myself with insight on the real world of garage rock: Grueling tour schedules (driving in vans to and fro, none of that pussy bus shit), partying, and fun fun Rock and Roll! Having played with Jay for some time, Billy voiced his admiration for the band, particularly the incredibly fast guitar playing. He also mentioned the light and dark sides of Mr. Reatard (calm at one moment and gonzo the next); no surprise.
Chris: This duo composed of Reatard on bass with a fierce, energetic comrade on guitar and vocals. Clearly, guitar-driven music; vocals were weak. But, I thought it was decent, a good start to the show. I am glad to see Jay keeps busy with side projects.
Glen: Played hard punk-influenced garage rock that sounded at times like early Jay Reatard. Jay’s bass play is what made this band, but I got to complement the guitarist on his fine solos. The last song, which was at leat over five minutes long, stood out in my mind as the group’s best. Jay played the same bass line over and over again while the guitarist went through a few different effects.
Chris: With this group we see a slight progression in crowd reaction. This progression would sharply follow with each group up to and including Jay Reatard. Anyway, Box Elders (I thought they were “Box Cutters” until just now haha) offered me a rare experience. Only once in a blue moon, if that, do I see a live band, especially an opening act and almost immediately find myself singing along to their tune. So, props to Box Elders for that. They displayed plenty of passion and high energy, particularly the drummer, who stood up the entire and simultaneously played keyboards the entire set! He also made goofy faces and body movements, which was funny and entertaining, to say the least. The guitarist sported a fancy, double guitar, which I have never seen in person, so that was cool. Well, I can really see their music appearing on my ipod in the future.
Glen: Really really catchy. Old sounding garage-pop, fun for the entire family! The drummer made this band in my opinion. He was quite the character, doing aerobics and stretches all whilst playing the drums with one hand and using the other to hit some organ keys. The two singers voices went well and definitely this is a band I’ll keep a fine eye on in the future. Their best two songs in my opinion were “Jackie Wood” (brought back memory of Ramones + arm aerobics!) and “Librarians” (awesome little keyboard part).
Hunx and His Punx:
Chris: Wow! Bruno Live! Which I’m sure disgusted or irritated, or possibly enticed many. For me, I just laughed my ass off in bewilderment. If you think you have seen homocore or queercore, then look again. Hunx and His Punx is just about as gay as it gets and unabashedly so. I will admit, the music was fine, but nothing special. Wit that beings said, singer Hunx (? lol) demonstrated fabulous showmanship, albeit in tight spandex, which he disrobed until her was down to a thong. The guy next to me had his face planted in the singer’s crotch…. it looked like he enjoyed it though haha. By the way, he looked like Cole Alexander.
Glen: When it comes down to it, Hunx and His Punx played some pretty awesome good music. That’s beside their stage presence which made everyone in the audience except for one guy feel really awkward. A homo-punk band taken to the most literal sense, the singer chanted about how he “likes [his] boys like meat – juicy and raw.” The singer actually reminded me of a really flamboyant Dean Allen Spunt plus an intense lisp.
1. You Don’t Like Rock & Roll
2. Hey Rocky
5. Do the Makeup
6. GOOD Kisser
7. Gimme Gimme Back Your Love
*On October 1, 2009, Hunx and His Punx arrived at the Holiday Inn in Montreal. How much did it cost to accommodate five individuals? Why 126.99, in case you wondering. Seth Bogard made the reservation. Yeah, next time don’t put your set list on the back of your hotel invoice. Good times.
Chris: Perhaps the best band to play straight before Jay. These wild bunnymen, (yes there was a bunny!) continued the trend of charisma Hunx created. Playing loud, fast, garage punk, they garnered the crowd in to intense dancing, moshing, pogoing and just about any -ing you can think of. The guitarist (drummer, Billy’s bro) spent most of their set at the very front of the stage with and sometimes in the audience. I even grabbed one of his fluffy bunny tails, which he proceeded to Jay(ha!) with. The set concluded with some good old fashion Pyrotechnics! Unfortunately, the security stomped them out merely after seconds of ignition. I dug the last line of their performance, right after the pyro was put out, “We still have seven more songs to play.” Something to that effect.
Glen: The crowd really got into Nobunny. They fuckin’ rocked the place. Their formula for success was essentially the same as the other bands, except they just seemed to have a little something extra. The singer was really interactive, jumping into the crowd on a few occasions. The bassist also didn’t hate going up to the crowd. We met the drummer Billy! Such a cool dude…besides him dressing in only underwear. That’s what the singer did too and a bunny mask too. Apparently, the lead singer of Hunx is the lead singer of Nobunny, but I can’t confirm this. They pulled similar antics on stage, except Nobunny was far less gay. “BoneYard” was probably their biggest hit.
Chris: Looking back at my earlier post, “Jay Hopes and Expectations,” I can say most were ultimately satisfied in this great concert. He played over half of the favorites I envisioned him playing. He did not get pissed and leave abruptly. There was no animosity between the audience and the performers. His set was about forty minutes I believe that is the exact time or longer than I expected. Unfortunately, he did not play all of my favorites; these are songs I wish he would have played: “Blood Visions,” “Waiting For Something,” “Screaming Hand,” “Always Wanting More,” “DOA,” “No Time,” “You Were Sleeping,” and “Rotten Mind.” It seems like he will never play those really soft songs like “No Time,” “You Were Sleeping, and even one of his latest, “There Is No Sun.” Nahh, Jay has to maintain that unrelenting, brutal, live assault. His music live is much different than on record. I know this true of all artists, but especially true of him. Live, sometimes you cannot even tell which song it is, even if it is a number you would normally recognize if you heard the recording; it’s all heavy, great for rocking out, moshing, crowd surfing, stage diving, etc. And our crowd certainly did so. We Reatards had tons of fun bashing around and singing along to his malevolent, anti-social lyrics. “My Shadow,” “It’s So Easy,” and “See/Saw” evoked tremendous crowd response, more than any other tracks. Fans, self-included, got a massive kick out of screaming “IT’S SO EASY WHEN YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD! IT’S SO MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU DON’T EVEN CARE! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME!” Just taking a quick gander at the set list (which is featured below) one will notice most of the songs were from Reatard’s earlier albums, Blood Visions (7) and Singles ’06-’07 (8, though some of those are BV tracks). This is another indication that he plays mostly raw, heavy, guitar fuzz-driven songs in his concerts, since these albums feature such music much more than his past two releases: Matador Singles ’08 and Watch Me Fall
Glen: I was pleasantly surprised that the crowd was 10X more into Jay this time around than they were in July. He played all good ones. He’s rocked for a while and probably will for years to come. “See/Saw” certainly got me the most excited.
The following is Jay’s set list for the night; in parentheses is the album/compilation of which the song appears:
An Ugly Death (Matador Singles ’08)
Nightmares (Blood Visions and Singles ’06-’07 but under the name “Haunting You”)
Fading All Away (BV and S0607 as “Searching For You”)
It Ain’t Gonna Save Me (Watch Me Fall)
Trapped Here (MS08)
Greed Money Useless Children (BV)
_*_*_- Switch To Acoustic- _*_8_
All Over Again (S0607)
I Know A Place (S0607)
I’m Watching You (MS08 and WMF)
It’s So Easy (BV and S0607)
Not A Substitute (BV)
MY Shadow (BV)
Oh It’s Such A Shame (BV and S0607)
Hammer I Miss You (S0607)
Faking It (WMF)
A Whisper (demo)
Let It All Go (S0607)
Chris: My 3rd favorite concert! Behind Black Lips, King Khan & The Shrines and just ahead of good old No Age. Four solid opening bands, a lot of charisma/energy, highly entertaining. I always get really exited when I see my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES and Jay is #4 for me, so this was big time. Pure Rock And Roll Fun!
Glen: Overall the experience was similar to the best concerts I’ve gone to…and that’s always awesome!