Glass elevator music
Friday night practically had The Spin's soul torn in two: attend the cavalcade of local talent at Mercy Lounge's free anniversary show, or jump on what may have been our last chance to catch MEEMAW in action? It was a decision we questioned several times during the night, starting with the moment we walked into The End and were met instantly by a wall of youths who'd packed the place well before 10 p.m.
The first act, So Jazzy, had already begun their set — a spacey, jammy, steadfastly repetitive and monotone style New Wave and post-punk hybrid. While their towering frontman certainly had the potential to make his shtick really work, he instead came off shy, nervous and unprepared, looking more as if he'd simply wandered onstage and sheepishly grabbed the microphone. So Jazzy were certainly not without charm, harnessing some energy within their limitations, but ultimately left us a little bored after a few songs.
Next, we got another does of Marj!, who play what we used to just call punk in the '90s before prefixes and modifiers like "post-" and "-core" got involved. Mixing the more powerful elements of Jawbreaker with the more confusing elements of Nation of Ulysses, they belted out a tight-ass mess of mangled chords and screamed harmonies in front of what resembled a mosh pit inside a sardine can.
It was then we got our regular dosage of local DIY staple JEFF the Brotherhood. JEFF proceeded to do what it is that JEFF does, breaking down the minimalist two-man stoner punk groove that has the bloggers and trolls in this town eternally divided. While they switched up between their earlier passages of lumbering sludge rock and newer fits of catchy psychedelic pop, it was clear the squabbles and divergences in the blogosphere had no effect on this room, which was packed with a sticky, hot and smelly rally of young folks hell-bent on rocking the fuck out. From the moment we showed up, the excitement in the air was palpable.
As the clock approached 1 a.m., and most folks were still outside destroying their still-growing lungs with first- and second-hand smoke, the reformed MEEMAW took the stage, kicking things off with the ever-familiar "Cancer of Society." A flood of stragglers then charged the stage in full scream-along, and a bout of déjà vu soon followed — the ensuing ruckus was nearly identical to their last show, played just three weeks shy of a year earlier and on that very stage. The sardine-can moshing and crowd surfing continued as a sea of pumping fists cheered on the reunited trio, who replicated well their heyday and the scrappy style of twee that originally took this town by storm — complete with adorably angsty delivery, communicable melodies and lyrics that both embrace and mock garishly patriotic, Walmart-fashioned Southern American clichés. They wailed through the bulk of their catalog in an all too timely fashion, stopping short at around 25 minutes without even considering an encore. Whether it was our final MEEMAW fix remains to be seen, but it will have to do for now.
Look it up
We love the life we lead — however degenerate it may seem to everyone else — but good goddamn, were we ready for last week to be over by the time Saturday rolled around. Between the Mercy Lounge's anniversary parties and what seemed like every other venue in town booking great local shows, we had rocked out for seven nights straight and our livers were in need of a breather and a good night's sleep. We weren't about to let a little thing like logic or discretion interfere with our Saturday night, though, so we hopped in the hoopty and headed to The Basement for Glossary's CD-release party for their kick-ass new record Feral Fire.
First up were H.P. Witchcraft, the side project from James "Wooden Wand" Toth, James Robbins and Glossary's own Bingham Barnes that we've grown quite fond of over the last few times we've seen them. Their propulsive, overdriven take on country rock makes us wonder what shoegazers like Ride would have been like if they'd had more moonshine than mescaline — H.P. Witchcraft definitely have the "raid your mom's medicine cabinet and go driving with your headlights off" sort of vibe. We would really like to sit down with a Witchcraft album and, um, a water-based tobacco filtration device and really explore the more, uh, cosmic revelations in the lyrics, but we were totally stoked to just drink beer and watch 'em rock out a badass version of John Prine's "Pretty Good."
Up next were Vulture Whale, an awesome yet bewildering band who are definitely from Birmingham, Ala., but sound like they could be from Birmingham, England, with their amped-up mod-pop. Seriously, if we were blindfolded, we would have guessed they were foreigners pretending to be Southerners and not the other way around — think Billy Childish's first band, The Pop Rivets, but without the disco songs and more Alvin Lee action on the guitar solos. Or maybe the Wedding Present teaming up with mid-period Archers of Loaf. Totes McGoats awesome, if you catch our drift. We're definitely putting Vulture Whale on the short list of must-see out-of-towners now that we know they can rock a party like it's 1967.
By the time Glossary took the stage, the room had reached that perfect equilibrium — packed, but not so crowded it was uncomfortable; steamy enough for the pipes to perspire but not so hot that anything melted besides our faces. There was definitely a party vibe in the air, with folks dancing and reveling like they were, uh, from some city other than Nashville — and we don't mean Murfreesboro, we mean a city where people dance and shit. When the band dropped into "Little Caney," it was like we were on Lower Broad and somebody had put "Gimme Three Steps" on the jukebox — kids just exploding with excitement, singing at the top of their lungs. There were a lot of bro-hugs and beers held high, lots of bellowing lungs belting out the words to classics like "Shout It From the Rooftops." It was a whole lotta rock 'n' roll. There is no band that loves what they do more than Glossary, and damn, do we love that.
Sorry we forgot to insert this week's flexidisc, "TiK ToK (Twee's Nutz Dub Mix)," but we were, uh, researching this week's cover story. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.