Sunday, October 05, 2014

Memphis/Gonerfest Part Five - The Buccaneer and the Hi-Tone

After coming back from the Stax Museum and having some exceptional vegetarian Vietnamese food, Melanie & I ventured to the Buccaneer Lounge just in time to catch the last band of the day show there, the Wild Emotions. The Buccaneer was a cool, dark and dank dive bar with a nautical theme, but the show was outdoors, thankfully, as the bar is pretty damn tiny!

Outside it was packed as the all-female Wild Emotions took over to the delight of the crowd. Theirs was a low-fi, keyboard-oriented (the keys played bass, as well) garage sound with group vocals and presented with plenty of sass, style and noise. Lamentably, due to an old-school house amplifier, they were plagued by excessive hum and feedback. I can relate, as I used that amp in our sound check and it was a noisy beast - not in a good way! But, the audience dug 'em and their cover of Devo's "Gates of Steel" was a fun surprise.

Back to the hotel to rest up and have some more fuel before getting to the Hi Tone for the evening gig. Again, the trials and tribulations of age combined with sight-seeing meant that we missed Die Rotzz and Angie, but made it in time to see Goner-man Eric's band, the Dutch Masters. Eric's previous band was the Oblivians, and the DM's have a similar heavy punk/garage sound. Cool tunes like "Ain't No Fucking Saint", "Tight Lips" (sung by 2nd guitarist Scott Rogers) and "Fucked Up Heart" (sung by bassist Talbot Adams), which was an audience sing-along. Sadly, something happened to Eric's guitar and its tuning went off into the stratosphere, so things sounded a bit off until he changed axes. A crowd-pleasing set though!

Warm Soda, from Oakland, CA, is a damn catchy power-pop group with some of the (unintentionally?) oddest visuals I've ever seen. The lead guitarist/vocalist looks like a white Phil Lynott handling an Ovation guitar, the shirtless bassist sports long pigtails, the 2nd guitarist has poofy 80's new-wave hair and the drummer looks like a bearded hippie! But their songs are undeniably tuneful and the sound was energetic and powerful. Quite cool! One of my faves from the fest, actually.

Melbourne, Australia's Deaf Wish was more punky and noisy, not unlike a more high-energy Sonic Youth, at least to my ears. By this time the venue was so packed and the crowd pretty wild, so I went out for some air.

Back in time to see the legendary Wreckless Eric, here for the first time in the US, with Bruce Brand and Russ Wilkins, as the Len Bright Combo. I was not familiar with this line-up before, which was an 80's group, but the sound was classic Wreckless Eric-pop with quirky lyrics, like "You're Gonna Screw My Head Off". This was a fun/sloppy set of good pop tunes with a pounding rhythm section and very simple leads - Eric is a fine rhythm player but nothing to write home about on lead - though he made some good, trashy noise. They did stretch out on a couple of numbers on which Eric relied on fuzz and echo effects to give some variety to the sound. On a few songs Bruce played a baritone guitar (or, at least, I believe that's how they described it - think it was just a 6-string guitar played through the bass amp!) and, instead of doing an Eric "hit" like "Go the Whole Wide World", they covered the Modern Lovers' "She Cracked". Everyone was wiped out by the time they ended and much sweat was exuded by all!

Sorry that I missed Thursday night's gig, but this was a solid Friday night of tumultuous rock'n'roll!