Die hards be checking this every damn day since October 1 of the previous year. It’s that legit.
Die hards be checking this every damn day since October 1 of the previous year. It’s that legit.
I had the honor of seeing Parisian band En Attendant Ana two Friday nights in a row: first in Boston at O’Briens Pub and then at the Hi-Tone in Memphis as part of Gonerfest 15 Night Two. I’m writing this post because I believe them to be the best live band that I’ve seen in a LONG TIME.
I saw a lot of bands at Gonerfest 15, including some true OG favorites like Oblivians and Carbonas. I love these guys and thought their sets were amazing. I was familiar with the songs they performed. I’m new to En Attendant Ana, having only briefly listened to their most recent album Lost and Found. I liked it a lot, but seeing them live was a transformative experience. Perhaps you can relate to a band that blows your mind even if you can’t name a single song. Hit after hit, hook after hook, there is no downtime or stagnation over the course of the set. There is a constant stream of musical euphoria and that larger-than-life feeling of music-as-inspiration. A pop band with a noisy rock ‘n roll sound. The trumpet adds a layer of character that works brilliantly in this group.
Check out all their music and, if you can, go see them perform. I don’t think larger festivals and bigger shows are far out of reach. En Attendant Ana would easily blow away and bring something fresh and exciting compared to what a lot is bandied about as “pop” these days.
GONERFEST 15 is shaping up to be an extraordinary festival. And just writing this is awfully redundant because every single one of them since the first one in 2005 has showcased the very best rock ‘n roll performers who are revered not just around the US, but also across the entire world. Pretty deep. I’m saying this not as someone who is an OG Memphis pilgrim, but as someone who has gone yearly since 2015 and has admired the label’s appetite for raw rock ‘n roll (garage/punk) for as long as KLYAM has been around. Describing GONERFEST to those who are entirely unfamiliar always makes for interesting conversation. Picture a music festival that draws people from Denmark, Australia, Los Angeles, you name it. But imagine the headlining shows at a 400 capacity venue and the afterparties (which can go well past 4 AM) at a tiny dive bar packed with crowds more than ready to continue the live music party. Giorgio Murderer closing out the weekend at Murphy’s. You can’t really top that. Anyway, here is who I am particularly excited to see:
CARBONAS – Who knew recommending a band in 2010 could be so incendiary? I know I made so many people mad on Terminal Boredom for liking contemporary 2010 bands (aw shucks being only a toddler in ’93). Well the haters can stay at home and listen to their obscure, limited press color 45s while I jam out to Carbonas at The Hi-Tone on Saturday night. No ‘pausing, extra lean straight-ahead move-out-of-the-way rock ‘n roll. I always connected with this, but thought seeing them live was out of the question considering their lengthy time not releasing new music. But with an album like Carbonas (released by Goner), it makes perfect sense to stop there…in a good way.
OBLIVIANS – It seems like I must’ve seen Oblivians, but nope this will be the first time. Seen Jack O, seen Reigning Sound, seen Greg, but the greatest group of the bunch that also features Goner owner Eric O? That will be Friday night at the Hi-Tone. I can’t really add much original thought to the highly influential legacy of this Memphis band. Super catchy AND super raw and noisy. I’m still angry that I left a CD copy of Best of the Worst bought from Bobby Hussy in Madison, Wisconsin in a Rent-A-Car in Chicago. Hopefully someone found it and started a band.
COBRA MAN – My Cobra Man obsession took on new heights this winter as I found myself playing their New Driveway Soundtrack almost daily. I think their charm is similar to the charm that gets me going when I listen to DEVO and the B-52’s, but this Cobra Man I tell ya is a bit more showy, club-ready (and still quite nerdy). The production is so crisp with really thick groovy basslines that shine through and bring these songs to the penthouse when they could have easily stayed in the basement bedroom or garage. I saw them play at Murphy’s during the daytime Saturday Blowout (amazing), but am even more excited to see this duo light up the darkened walls of the Hi-Tone on Friday night.
GENTLEMEN JESSE – Woah is me. The first band to really hurt my eardrums back when I was relatively new to going to loud rock and roll shows was Gentlemen Jesse and His Men. 2009 opening for Black Lips at Middle East Down (in case you’re keeping track). Now, Jesse will be performing a solo set at Memphis Made. To go back to the previous point – the hurt eardrums wasn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed the music greatly. Pop rock, or power-pop they might call it. But not so super wimpy as those two words might make a purist weep or some bullshit like that.
NOTS – Goner mainstays and KLYAM favorites. Time Warp Weekends, too. Want a band that wastes no time with what they’re doing? Shouted, repetitive lyrics, with the kind of dynamic instrumentation that for lack of a better phrase is as if we’ve been blessed with the Greatest Hits of the Goner label all packed into one band. Take a minute for that. They’ll be playing Saturday night at the Hi-Tone.
SICK THOUGHTS – Like Oblivians, like Carbonas, Sick Thoughts just knows how to write a banger of a raw rock ‘n roll song without wasting any time. Album after album. Single after single. Put on any Sick Thoughts and you can be guaranteed you will start to immediately do whatever your signature “I’m really feeling this song” move is. Catch ’em right before Oblivians on Friday night.
HARLAN T. BOBO – Not going to lie, do I know much about Harlan T. Bobo? Very little and I am talking about his music. Apparently he is fairly mysterious as well, but Goner has lent their full support to what I am only guessing is a Memphis legend. I don’t know where to start, but maybe his Thursday night Hi-Tone show may be just the right kind of live introduction?
MORE TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!!!!
Everyone’s Gonerfest is a personal Gonerfest. Everyone’s Memphis is a personal Memphis. Folks travel far and wide, or in some cases – not at all – to get to Gonerfest to see the best bands in the land. For us, this was our third trip down there. Veteran status? King Louie might beg to differ. At any case, if it was not for the precise organization of the heads at Goner and the cooperation of the city, venues, groups, and fans, this might be a different animal. Instead, it’s for the most part a meeting of minds, a reunion for many, or for the uninitiated – the first annual.
I will call it an international summit, with some representation of the past, present, and future. Where bands unite, where bands stop on tour, where bands play their first (and maybe last?) show. Is there a Goner sound? If anything I learned this weekend, it’s that no, no there is not. Maybe in 2009, but not in 2017. And the record label/store is better off for it. There are some sounds and scenes that curry a bit more favor across the board. Los Angeles and New Orleans have some wild bands, shoving that straight-ahead, raw, fast sound into our welcoming ears. Die Group (Los Angeles) are mainstays and were a definite highlight for me on Thursday night at the Hi-Tone. Almost from the second they begin to play, I’m into it and there is no resting after that. Sex Tape Records – Die Group’s record label – put on a Friday early morning afterparty at Bar DKDC and this was a choice shindig with the Sex Tape’s very own Brain Bagz (Salt Lake City) and Tenement Rats. Now, it being a long drunken night, I thought Tenement Rats’ Jonny Watkins was Pitbull. A garage punk Pitbull. Yes, that Pitbull. It took some clarification. Count me in as a big fan of both groups, both with the noisy, catchy immediacy we need in these modern times.
New Orleans deserves a paragraph of its own. From my very first Gonerfest (12), I gathered some intel that this is a very incestuous group of music playing individuals. Playing in each others bands, supporting each other. From the start we had NOLA king King Louie (weirdly called King Louis on a Memphis news website?) playing opening ceremonies in a new band with Abe White, formerly of The Manatees (Memphis). A few hours later BENNI started Night One at the Hi-Tone. With an album recently released on Goner, the mysterious BENNI might just be the weirdest project of the bunch. Armed with a few synthesizers and a talk box, he eased us into what would be a night of heavy rock ‘n roll. Kind of like Couteau Latex did last year. It would be more than 24 hours until we got another dose of freewheeling New Orleans punk – this time at the legendary Murphy’s for the Night Two afterparty. Gonerfest alum Die Rötzz, and Dummy Dumpster (both been around for more than a decade) along with newer crew Enoch Ramone got the booze spent revelers moshing around into each other. Maybe it was the peck on the cheek from Don Perry (eternal gratitude for the rides to the afterparties and the laughs), or maybe it wasn’t, but the Enoch frontman was in a frenzy start to finish, save for the “Gates of Steel” DEVO cover, which was sung by Sam from Trampoline Team. Maybe Murphy’s is the true second home of these NOLA characters as this year’s Saturday afternoon Blowout brought us three performances: GUSHERS, IS IS, and HEAVY LIDS. While the first and last just mentioned groups are more in line with the above mentioned quick zip, speedfire r’n’r and absolutely rocked it, it’s that middle group that put on arguably the most subdued, but interesting performance. Masterminded by Giorgio Murderer and featuring members of Trampoline Team and Black Abba. This was the closest thing we got to that unmistakable Giorgio/Buck Biloxi sound. Click the link and go be offended.
Pt. Two coming soon…………………….
More importantly listen to theses Aussies here: http://ausmuteants.bandcamp.com/
More Nobunny to fill your little bellies!
And the schedule of bands:
9/28 – Friday Afternoon @ The Buccaneer – 2:00pm
The Hussy (Madison, WI) / No Bails (Kalamazoo, MI) / Toxie (Memphis, TN) / Anomalys (Amsterdam, Holland) / Johnny Lowebow (Memphis, TN)
9/28 – Friday Night @ The Hi-Tone Cafe – 8pm Doors
Nobunny (Rabbithole, USA) / River City Tanlines (Memphis, TN) / Bits Of Shit (Melbourne, Australia) / Gary Wrong Group (Mobile, AL) / Bad Sports (Denton, TX) / Nots (Memphis, TN)
9/29 – Saturday Afternoon @ Murphy’s
Inside 1pm Party Bat (Chicago, IL) / 2pm Native Cats (Tasmania, Australia) / 3pm White Mystery (Chicago, IL) / 4pm Chemicals (Portland, OR) / 5pm Cecilia & The Sauerkrauts (Paris, France / Portland, OR)
Outside 1:30 Dez Vibz (Desert, AZ) / 2:30 Detonations (AZ / New Orleans) / 3:30 AAAA The New Memphis Legs (Memphis, Nashville, Texas) / 4:30 Chicken Snake (Staunton, VA) / 5:30 Lenguas Largas (Tucson, AZ)
9/29 – Saturday Night @ The Hi-Tone – 8pm Doors
Spits (Outer Space) / Mad Macka (Brisbane, Australia) / GG King (Atlanta, GA) / Persuaders (New Orleans, LA) / Ex-Cult (Memphis, TN) / White Wires (Ottawa, Canada)
9/30 – Closing Ceremony @ The Goner Gazebo – 2:00pm
Hamish Kilgour (Dunedin, New Zealand) / Rev. John Wilkins (Memphis, TN)