I was feeling nostalgic about 2009/2010, when I first came across the one and only Box Elders (defunct). So, I started looking for some videos of Omaha’s finest and I came across this one from the wacky folks over at Scion. Give it a look and seriously LISTEN to Box Elders!
Category Archives: Box Elders
Two Years Ago Today…
Two years ago today was one of the greatest experiences in my whole life and possibly the best show I have ever attended. On March 25, 2010 KLYAM and friends and hundreds of others at the Middle East witnessed the greatness of our favorite band The Black Lips as well as the somewhat short lived, but nonetheless phenomenial Box Elders. It was indeed an amazing show, local mainstays, Movers and Shakers opened the show as well. Good times. Great times actually.
Here’s a link to the epic KLYAM review: https://klyam.com/2010/03/30/concert-review-black-lips/
Song of the Day: “Death of Me” (Box Elders)
Rest in peace Box Elders !
2012!!!! The Greatest ‘2012’ Song
Box Elders tune from Alice and Friends
(though this version is from a 7″)
Two Years Ago Today….
Two years ago today was one of the most incredible days of my life. Jay Reatard and his Shattered Records Tour came to town and being a huge creep I was naturally in attendance. At the time, I had never heard of any of the supporting bands: Useless Eaters (a Jay side project), Box Elders, Hunx and His Punx, and Nobunny. This show served as the perfect introduction to those bands and the last three have gone on to become some of my all time favorite artists. Jay put on an amazing show (sadly, one of his last as most of you know), the best I saw from him and one of the greatest performances I have ever seen. I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like the Shattered Records show before or since.
This video is a terrific example of what made Jay a unique live experience and on top of that this interview nicely illustrates his attitude toward live shows.
Here is thee original review: https://klyam.com/2009/10/03/no-reatardation-jay-reatard-concert-review/
Chris’s Top 30 Current Favorite Artists
In honor of KLYAM’s two year Birthday (June 27) I decided to make a list of my 30 favorite bands at the moment with the criteria being that they had to have released material since the inception of KLYAM that I enjoy very, very much. I don’t plan on writing about all of them, especially when it is so obvious to anyone that frequently visits this site why I love some of these bands. Okay, here we go!
30) Those Darlins: You think Country music is dead?! You clearly haven’t heard Those Darlins. This four piece band rocks like a Punk band but with the sweetness of an old school Country act. A great example of a modern band incorporating traditional styles of music into their own unique sound.
29) The Strange Boys
28) Smith Westerns: I had heard the name Smith Westerns tossed around like a hot child in the city and they just seemed like another hype band, and for some reason (at least to me) they kind of have that look to them. Eventually, I sat down and gave them some eartime and realized I had been missing out on one of the finer pop bands around today. When you listen to SW you can tell these guys want their music to just consume you and rest deep in your psyche for as long as possible. Their songs are epic, perhaps even over the top, but in that nice way, you know where you fear they are coming too close to pretentious, but then all of that evaporates when you realize just how catchy, emotional, and ultimately memorable the music is. Definitely, one of my new favorite bands, all hype bullshit aside.
27) Atlas Sound: If you asked most music fans what they look for in artists I’m sure sincerity is pretty damn high on the list. Bradford “Atlas Sound” Cox is one of the most sincere artists in the whole world. Instead of making his music a premeditated script, Bradford lets the music flow as he is recording it; he does not write lyrics ahead of time and this really shines through in his songs. There is an uncany vulnerability in his music. For example, in “Holiday,” when he moans “I’m desperate, don’t try to get away” you really believe him. He offers the genuine emotion and conviction a “proper” musician would simply fuck up. Not to mention the vast amount of music he makes freely available for everyone!
26) Arctic Monkeys
25) Peach Kelli Pop: A notable trend on this list is the vintage, “garage,” if you will studio production sound in most or many of these artists, and I think PKP is no exception to that. I love the sound of their self-titled record and how simple it is (or at least appears to be); thee simplicity is key to these tunes. Also the exuberence and joy placed in every song is enough to make even the grouchiest killjoy start shakin’. PKP is like bubblegummy, teeny bopper music for Punkers. “Eeenie Meenie Minie Moe” is my top jam; I could blast that forever.
24) Gentlemen Jesse and His Men: I’m often shocked that some of the music I love is not as big as I would expect it to be. But, as Hunx says to the nay sayers of Rock and Roll: “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with a world that doesn’t enjoy or worse has never came close to hearing the pleasant power pop of Gentlemen Jesse. These Atlanta rockers represent more of the sweet side of Rock and Roll, but they ain’t pussies! and whenever I see them live I’m thinking this is ALL I NEED TONIGHT!
23) Arcade Fire
22) Shannon and the Clams: I think Shannon and the Clams are the youngest (in terms of my excessive fandom for their music) band on this list. In the past month, the clams have been in heavy rotation on my ipod and it’s not hard to see why; if you love balls out, no fucking around, sometimes soft, sometimes crazy Rock and Roll, then this band demands your attention. Shannon Shaw has a gorgeous voice filled with variety- she can belt out loud, Punk inspired vocals or send your ears to musical heaven in the form of more sensitive singing. A lot of great ballads, straight up rock songs, and everything in between. One of the funnest bands I’ve come across as of late.
21) Cumstain: Wow, what a fucking band right here. Cumstain is the kinda band where your not sure if it’s just a joke or if you’re going to write your college thesis on their work and life philosophy. Well, it’s neither, but something has to be special if one were to make this contemplation. Seriously though, I can’t promote this band enough, it really dissapoints me that so few people know of their music. In terms of the songs, they are quite strong, stronger than most of their “garage” peers, but really that’s just the beginning. I have often described them as an unintentionally conceptual band. Their eponymous deubt record feels like an odd, off kilter concept album. A loose, dirty story of what it is like to be a young, sexually frusturated and confused male in this world. Overall, the music is fun and rocks, not to be taken too seriously, but honestly I rarely ever hear anything so visceral. Cumstain’s lyrics are often vulgar and licentious (who would have guessed?!) but beneath the unsavory language there’s a lot of truth. It’s a truth most pop songwriters would save for a private conversation with their buddies instead of documenting their thoughts and emotions via music. The classic ballad (it’s a ballad to me anyway) and final track “Cum Stain” really wraps things up and sums up the album as a whole. Countless bands have written about wanting to fuck girls and do naughty things to them, but few have ever taken the time to explain why, in an astonshingly direct manner, they feel this way. And as stated in the song, the relationship between men and women- the most discussed subject matter in just about all of art, is humorously and accurately reduced to being just another cum stain on a girl’s floor. I couldn’t think of a better way to put it myself, I can imagine Bill Shakespeare would be proud. With that being said, you could eschew all that philisophical analysis as utter nonsense and that would be perfectly fine because at the end of the day these songs are really great rockers to toss on while you get drunk and rowdy and dance/mosh around to or however you like to spend the time in your bachelor’s life.
20) The Almigthy Defenders: Man oh man, if I attended the show on the above flyer it would be salvation for sure! There are a lot of side projects in Rock and Roll especially when it comes to my faves, but without a doubt The Almighty Defenders brought a whole new meaning to the words side project and supergroup. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have dreamed up a more heavenly super group. If anyone reading this is a fan of The Black Lips, The King Khan & BBQ Show or just good old fashioned, analog sounding, early roots, gospel inspired- pre-popular, mass machine based music and you haven’t listened to defenders, do yourself a massive favor check them out ASAP.
19) Harlem: The word “garage” gets tossed around way too much and admittedly we are part of that over usage; Harlem has often been categorized as a garage band and certainly they have elements of said genre, but as far as KLYAM tastebuds go, they have totally surpassed 95% or more of the bands that fall under that label. Despite their Matador Records deal and other widespread acclaim, alas it seems Harlem does not gain the recognition they deserve. Who knows maybe the “indie” music “scene” just wanted to build Harlem up and look for the next Black Lips or Jay Reatard and didn’t find them. Well, fuck that Harlem is Harlem! And you know what Harlem probably doesn’t care anyway. They have that Maine Coonsy-Beetsy “I don’t give a fuck” kinda attitude to them. Even live this persona was completely intact- though they were also on shrooms when I saw them… But there’s really sentiment and heart to this trio’s music- a character lacking in their fellow “garage” comrades. They remind me of that guy that acts all nonshalant about getting laid (“yeah, I fucked her..”) but deep down that’s all that’s on his mind.
18) Mark Sultan
16) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: It seems pretty obvious just with a few quick glances of this list that there are virtually no original artists in the truest sense of the word. Most of them wear their influences on their sleeves and you know what that is more than fine by me. Most bands aren’t close to original to begin with, so I’d rather hear a band mimic an existing style and add their own flavor to it. Pains are a great modern example of this- they sound like they belong on an 80s teen flick soundtrack with a little bit of the distortion and harsh noise of The Jesus and Mary Chain spinrkled in the mix. Easily one of the strongest debut LPs I have had the pleasure of hearing.
15) Magic Kids
14) The Maine Coons: If you react to music the way I do, then when you hear a band described as “cum punk” then it is a MUST that you hear them. Definitely the most obscure band on this list- which just like another “cum punk,” band, if you will, Cumstain deepely saddens me. These guys need to be acknowledged because they have the creepy, but catchy, freaky, but funny song dynamic down to a tee. Seriously their music is in the same league as Nobunny and Mark Sultan. I will constantly promote these guys any chance I get. Perhaps some of the greatest song titles ever- “Pull the Plug On Grandma,” “Hey Dickhead,” “Ghetto Queen,” “I Am a Motherfucker,” and the uplifting, missonary anthem, “How Long Is It Going to Take For You to Find God.” Maine Coons for life! You won’t find pussy this good anywhere else, I assure you.
13) King Khan & the Shrines
12) Ty Segall: Yeah yeah, I know that’s not a pic of Ty, but rather Steven Segal. But, if Ty and Steven got into a brawl, the former would totally win because Ty Segall is thee definition of badass. He’s a badass in that cool, laid back kind of way- not the I’m a tough guy and I have to prove it to everyone including myself kinda way; real gangsta ass niggas don’t start fights. And to top it off, Ty’s music is the sexiest music created in decades. Think about it, next time you want to get it on with a lady friend, play some Ty Segall. You can thank me in the form of KLYAM promotion!
11) Nobunny: Nobunny is for the children. Nobunny is for the geezers. A great man once told me that Nobunny is everything and at the same time Nobunny is nothing.
10) Best Coast
9) Animal Collective: I mentioned earlier that the artists on this list lack orginality (not as a flaw, but as a basic observation), well Animal Collective is an exception to that. I have always argued that they are the greatest and most groundbreaking band of the past decade and even if you don’t agree with that high praise you can at least admire them for their vast experimentation which is juxtaposed with their ability to break into a more accessible sound without totally abandoning those chaotic tendencies. AC was the first modern band that really struck me and got me into listening to other modern artists. Before them, I listened to only older artists for the most part. In other words, they destroyed the musical time barrier for me.
8) No Age: Whenever people ask me about noise music I typicall drop two names: Lightning Bolt and No Age. I don’t consider myself a noise aficionado by any means and I don’t consier NA a pure noise band, but one cannot help but notice the direct link between the cacophany, energy, and volume of LB and other noise bands and Dean and Randy’s ever growing project. The only difference is that this duo has an extreme devotion to pop music. From the beginning, NA has made it clear (not so much verbally) that they are pop songwriters and great ones at that! Their catchy tunes and overall light hearted, positive demanor offer a sense of inclusion, which is very much apparent in their recordings, but all the more alive during their awe inspiring live shows. No Age can be appreciated by old school punkers (or fans of old school Punk/Hardcore) but at the same time their music feels welcoming to all.
7) Box Elders: When one of your favorite bands break up it’s like when your parents divorce.* “It’s just going to end like that! Did you even consider how this would affect me?!” Even though it saddens you, you have to be a bigger person and realize its probably for the best and they need to work things out for themselves. A book on teaching music fans how to cope with their favorite bands’s splits will be available in bookstores shortly… Plain and simple, the Box Elders were one of the greatest- live, in the studio, and everywhere else. When I heard that they were through it was a dark day for KLYAM. At least, we have the music! Alice and Friends (2009) is one of the finest LPs from the past decade and probably my favorite Goner release. It’s funny with a lot of small bands you have to pay close attention to truly appreciate the pop song sunk beneath the sea of noise with the BE it was the exact opposite: you had to look for that home recording “lower” quality sound because (at least for me) their pop hooks and musical excellence dominated each and every song.
* This is just a joke, for I have never had to deal with a divorce in any way whatsoever.
6) Wavves: King of the Beach (2010) was KLYAM’s #1 album of the year brah, a title we don’t take lightly around here haha. Thanks (along with Best Coast) for bringing back good teenage angst music- at least for my tastes.
5) Hunx an His Punx
4) The King Khan & BBQ Show: I’d like to think of King Khan & BBQ as a little microcosm for my entire taste in music and more significantly my personality as a whole. Sexy, but sweet. In your face and crazy at times, but usually just ready to party and Rock and Roll. Complete soul, sentiment, and integrity, but don’t take shit too, too seriously or else it tastes bad. No bullshit, keep it as real as real can get and keep an eye on all the hunnies. Mark Sultan’s definitely my favorite singer right now- pumping up various vocalists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s with steroids and BBQ, a neat combo.
3) Deerhunter: Tru Gangsta. Tru Gangsta. If I ever saw any they would be the four gentlemen that comprise Deerhunter. Deerhunter in many ways are the group that links many of these bands together. The experimental pop aspect of their music can be associated with Animal Collective and No Age and their fun loving, Rock and Roll, “Garage” esque- simple music aesthetic and background connects them with the like of their hometown boys, The Black Lips, Jay Reatard, and The King Khan & BBQ Show, amongst others. I was discussing music with a friend and I pointed out what makes Deerhunter special and separates them from most artists is the fact that their music is extremely emotional and they deal with love in their songs, but they don’t write “love songs” or songs about sexual relationships between people. This allows the band to tap into an entirely different universe, often much greater, deeper emotions other artists never enter; they create a different kind of love song. I constantly use the word emotional to describe their music and obviously any good music has to be emotional in one way or another, but I feel like people give Deerhunter a bad name when they say they are “depressing.” Their music perhaps takes people to a place in themselves that they would rather not face, but that’s precisely what I love about them. I credit this band with helping me out a lot when I was depressed; in many ways they were the soundtrack to my evolution to happiness- that’s the only way I can describe it. My favorite song is the Microcastle (2008) closer “Twilight At Carbon Lake.” I love how it starts off sort of “sad,” and then just explodes into this wall of noise till the very end of the record. To me that song is like going through personal hell, going from totally hating yourself to totally loving yourself. As if that massive increase in volume is akin to a nervous breakdown and the end of the song is a sign that you made it out alive, stronger than ever, like the noise was just you destroying everything you hated about yourself and everything that brought you down in the first place. I’m not saying that’s what the song is about or what I think the song is about, but rather what it means to me. It’s not so much about thoughts, it’s about emotions.
2) Jay Reatard: First and foremost, with The Ramones as a possible exception, Jay wrote the catchiest songs ever. The man could sit down with a guitar and his voice alone and unleash a mini pop symphony that the most sophisticated musicians alive could never create. I can imagine one of his legacies will be the fact that he serves as a model for how much one can do with how little they have- giving hope to many a young guy and girl alone in their bedroom making music seemingly no one wants to hear. In both his music and lyrics, Jay eschewed the tough guy image a lot of people placed on him, instead cutting open his heart and sharing his blood visions for you and me, and for all to see. If you look at his songs, he really doesn’t shield himself from the rest of the world like most people do. For a guy with as much balls and strength in him, he wasn’t shy to reveal his feelings through his music in a non gay reatard way, i.e. “I look in to your eyes and try not to cry,” from his classic “Oh, It’s Such a Shame.” And indeed it is a shame, but it would be an even greater shame if we let his music fade all away into obscurity. RIP.
1) Black Lips!: Most of this site is why I love the Black Lips and why they are my favorite band, so this explanation, if you will, will be as brief as possible. In fact, the namesake for this site, for you newbies, descends from the lyrics to the lips’ anthem and their most popular song, “Bad Kids.” It’s funny, I don’t remember how this all came about, but from what I’m told a friend of ours, actually KLYAMer, Ben Tan, came up with the title knowing Glen and I were such massive fans of their music. Honestly, what a perfect title- it works on many different levels and makes sense, even if you can’t catch the reference. I think had it been Glen or me that came up with the title we probably would have called it something stupid like “Everybody Loves a Cocksucker” to prove we’re die hard Black Lips fans. Which we are- the hardest working fans in show business, but we are certainly not OG and never claimed to be. We stumbled upon the Lips in April of ’08 and slowly we became psychotic devotees, grabbing everything we could listen to, read, or watch on the band. I don’t know about Glen, but for me perhaps the greatest characteristic of the Black Lips is the fact that they satisfy the classic image and idea of what Rock and Roll band should be. That heroic, do whatever the fuck you want, Rock and Roll all night and party every day, image that I honestly thought was dead before the Lips came into my life. I thought it died with popular Rock and Roll music. But, it is alive and well and has been for a long time, just nestled in the underground. Will the Lips be the band that brings this music above ground again? Who knows? I hope the best for them, but I honestly don’t care, I will be satisfied as long as they keep it simple, stupid.
Classic Concert Review: Black Lips@ Mid East ’10
Bands: Black Lips, Box Elders, Movers and Shakers
Venue: Middle East Downstairs
Date: March 25, 2010
Pre-Show: Once a year or so the Black Lips come to town. For me, Chris, and all big fans of the best band in the world, a Black Lips show is always highly anticipated. 2 months away! 1 month away! 2 days away! The day! The excitement builds intensely and progressively as the day nears. This time around was special though; Box Elders, openers for Jay Reatard at Harpers Ferry in October and favorites among Chris and I, were opening for the Lips! So we arrived at our favorite venue, the Middle East Downstairs, way before doors opened to secure a cozy spot in front of what would be Jared Swilley’s stage monitor. Doors at 8. Show at 9:30. We’re used to that. I always thought that was kind of lame, but not on this night. Chris spotted what he thought were the Box Elders hanging around the merchandise table at back. He was right. First, we killed a good deal of time chatting with Clayton, the long blonde hair guitar player and singer. Clayton explained to us, amongst many things, the meaning of a couple of songs like “Ronald Dean” and “2012.” Chris pointed out his particular admiration for “Atlantis” calling it his favorite and Clayton agreed with him on that account. He also said that his mother was NOT the drummer for Box Elders in the early stages. All she did was sing. The internet is wrong! After a short little break from discourse, we spoke to another member of the Box Elders, drummer Dave Goldberg. Our conversation with Dave was another great one and included a short discussion about Our Band Could Be Your Life and the late great Jay Reatard.
Movers and Shakers: Pretty boring. Some pretty good songs, but still pretty boring.
Box Elders: They are one of our favorites because they play brief and incredibly catchy ditties. They don’t fuck around. If the drum beats aren’t good enough for you, then you are a sad sad person. Dave has incredible command of his set and his left side organ, which doesn’t sound as apparent as it does on record, but is definitely pretty damn obvious and fun. As I’ve said before, just watching Dave do his aerobics and drumstick biting is a joy. Listening to the songs themselves, I felt, at the moment, as if Box Elders were the main act. The crowd certainly got more into Box Elders than pretty much all other openers I’ve ever seen. Whether they actually knew the songs is a different story, but whatever! They played all my favorites, which is pretty much every song on Alice & Friends. The most memorable song for me was “Hole in My Head” for no particular reason. “Atlantis” and “Jackie Wood” were just as entertaining as well. I’m just eagerly anticipating the next Box Elders show! Hopefully it will come sometime this year.
Black Lips: Chris and I were having some discourse after the show about watching the Black Lips from a non-moshing/standing view. I looked yesterday and somebody put up a video of a recent Lips Canadian show and had in the description that the boys are getting sloppy. Accusations of their alleged musical sloppiness have been tossed around for years, be it from Raconteurs fans or sidelined cinematographers. Screw all that garbage. You haven’t seen a Black Lips show until you’ve been in the center of crowd craziness. Great tunes and fun times. As customary, the guys opened with “Sea of Blasphemy” which instantly started up the chaos amongst fans. After that they played two tracks off their most recent release 200 Million Thousand, “Drugs” and “Short Fuse.” That was it for 200 Million Thousand cuts and nobody really seemed to give a shit, considering they toured behind that last year and played more numbers from that release at that time. They made up for not playing “Take My Heart” or “Starting Over” by performing B-Side “Make It” along with “Raw Meat” (which will be off their forthcoming release). As far as their 2004 We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow LP is concerned, they played “Stranger,” which I did not expect. Of course, they ended their set off with usual classic “Juvenile.” More on that in a few sentences. Magic time, another staple in Black Lips live performances, began with the playing of “Hippie Hippie Hoorah” and never really ended to be honest. It was all magic at that point. The band loves re-hashing Let It Bloom/Los Valienteles Del Mundo Nuevo classics and this night was no different with “Not a Problem” (my favorite Lips song!), “Take Me Home (Back to Boone)”, “Fairy Stories,” “Dirty Hands,” and “Buried Alive” all played. As far as Good Bad Not Evil is concerned, we got to enjoy a few really great pieces like “O Katrina,” “I Saw a Ghost (Lean),” “Lock and Key,” “Cold Hands,” and the Lips most recognizable track in catalog: “Bad Kids.” By the time the first chords of “Juvenile” were struck, I was sad! The Black Lips were potentially playing their last song until next time. I had memories of last year when Ian handed beers to us, Jared crowd surfed, and the worst: security getting all uppity and dismantling all equipment on stage at the end of “Juvenile,” before the band could even come back. Normally one to just hang back and watch others climb on stage or do whatever, I decided mid-song to pull myself on stage and jump off. I was expecting this song to be the band’s last (if last year was any indication) so why not? Well, security got really pissed and got me down from people’s hands. He walked me over to the exit, but instead I made a little turn to the merch table where who else but Dave from Box Elders was sitting! Dave kindly explained to security that I was with his band and that it won’t happen again. After sitting the rest of the song out, I made my way to the front as the Lips were coming out of the back room to play the Encore. And what an encore! We got surprised with “Ghetto Cross,” a We Did Not track which one can only expect to be a live rarity, as well as a brand new ditty. That was it. Side note: this was definitely one of the most exhausting and rough concert experiences I’ve had. The crowd was as tightly packed as can be and there was a tremendous amount of contact amongst all of us. That’s fine, though. We’re troopers.
Post-Show: Fun stuff didn’t end there. Chris got to chat with Cole and Joe after the encore and I got to hang with Dave behind the merch table. He said that that night was the best of the tour, performance wise and merch sales wise. He also hooked me up with a customized Black Lips t-shirt, personally painted and presented to me by Lips very own guitarist and vocalist, Cole Alexander. Cole’s the man. Dave’s the man. I’m very grateful of their showing of kindness to a random fan.
Grade: A+ – I’m not going to lie. I don’t remember much of Black Lips set and only fragments of Box Elders set. Nevertheless, I knew I had fun. I had a lot of fun…pre, during, post. Best concert experience? Definitely. There weren’t as many song memories as in past shows, but based on everything else it’s the best I’ve had.
Chris- Yep, Glen pretty much covers my sentiments. It was absolutely the greatest concert experience! To me, concerts are measured musically, viscerally, visually, and as an overall experience. I’d say the viscreal is the key ingredient in the memorable concert dish. That’s the difference between most seated concerts and “crazy” shows like the Black Lips. It’s like an altered state of consciousness, for me at least, for others this is literally the case! Seemingly, time is suspended and everything is possible. You feel more alive than ever. An amazing feeling. If you have experienced viscreally, what I am speaking of, and if you attended last Thursday’s show and was amongst the fun, wild, bedlam, then you know what I’m saying. I’m making no exaggeration, when I say, you do not know what will happen next. That’s exactly the appeal, and yeah sometimes it’s a challenge, sometimes you get thrown back and forth and lose your spot, or sometimes you can rest your head on a smokin’ femme :) I can’t imagine it any other way. And what better a band then the Black Lips to experience this visceral abandoment with?! In short, the Black Lips are synonimous with Rock and Roll today. They are our Beatles.
P.S. Box Elders rocked as well and if I had only seen them it would still probably be amongst my top ten favorite shows.
Dave Goldberg (of the Box Elders) makes some experimental music. Go Dave Go!
Box Elders WFMU Set
Live set and interview from November 2010!
Really recommended, funny also how enthusiastic the hostess is.
If I heard right, EP coming soon on Captured Tracks… and maybe some more touring (not heard, but hopedddd)
Classic Concert Review: Shattered Records Tour
Artist(s): Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Box Elders, and Useless Eaters
Location: Harpers Ferry, Alston, MA
Date: 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,”etc. 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 #2 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!
Footage not from the actual concert! lol