We can’t believe it took the Impound 13 years to attend our first Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival but it sure as shit won’t be our last Memorial Day Weekend spent up to our elbows in oi! You can read Dennis’ rave review for this year’s fest over here, and faithful camera jockey Josh Miller shot a pile of good pics to share with y’all. Here’s the first batch taking you into the action in old downtown Vegas at the end of May.
Better and better, by and by.
This thought seizes me early in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood‘s first set. It doesn’t just occur or pop into my dome, but it grabs me somewhere inside, reminding me with a semi-playful tug why Robinson and those he collaborates with are worth one’s time and money. There’s the appealing surface stuff to this new-ish band – a Grateful Dead friendly vibe, a smidge of right good California country, weaving & unruly guitars, lil’ blue-eyed soul, original material that’s a good stretch from The Black Crowes but imbued with its own heady charms – but what’s more significant with the Brotherhood is the collective intention and spirit of this music, right down to where they’ve chosen to birth it – i.e. smallish venues up & down California. There’s a patient intimacy built into the Brotherhood, and the mostly full houses they’ve played to have been largely filled with folks eager to ramble and evolve with them (that sure seemed the feeling in the room at this Independent show). It’s an uncommon relationship both for these times and for a well-established rock star like Robinson, but the dividends are surely paying off.
Thick into the second set, already rattled nicely by strong readings of originals “Someday Past The Sunset” and “Tulsa Yesterday” as well as standout covers of O.V. Wright’s “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and Dylan’s “Tough Mama” in the first set, I felt the current grow even stronger, a wobbly-legged, green feeling crawling over me – rock moss of a sort. I still find myself vaguely amazed at how moved and tickled four shades of pink Robinson’s music makes me after more than 20 years of following his movements intently.
But he doesn’t do it alone, and hearing the full band version of early acoustic solo number “Reflections On A Broken Mirror” made me appreciate even more what Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam MacDougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums) and Mark “Muddy” Dutton (bass, vocals) bring to the table. These guys seem to get Robinson – quirks, curiosities and all – and he comes off more relaxed onstage these days. ‘Chemistry’ about covers it for a descriptor but it’s chemistry tangible to those facing the stage, too. It’s fun to see them muscle through passages that don’t flow immediately, to bounce around ideas, and even attempt to find what life remains in a well-worn chestnut like “Blue Suede Shoes.” Not all of it works but it’s a blast to watch them wrestle this thing to the ground (or just as often, give it wings), so who the fuck cares if everything isn’t fireworks and cherry pie? This is a fine rock band getting their legs under them. It’s clear we’re nowhere near the end of their potential, and hopefully the stars smile on them and we get a studio album and a lot more growing-in-the-moment on stages countrywide in the days ahead.
The Brotherhood is taking a much needed break but plays a handful of Northern California dates in late June, starting 6/25 in Grass Valley. Then, the group heads out of state for the first time in late July, starting an eastward run in Milwaukee, WI on July 26th. Find full tour schedule here.
Fortunate for the Impound, our buddy with a camera John Margaretten was at this gig to snap some cool images for us to share.
As Prince, Robert Palmer and Half Baked‘s Samson Simpson know, it’s a blast to be backed by an all-female gang. Cee Lo Green knows it, too. Since releasing his baby-making, modern soul gem The Lady Killer, the smooth domed crooner has been making live appearances with a group he’s dubbed Scarlet Fever, consisting of Sharon Aguilar (lead guitar, violin), Brittany Brooks (drums), Theresa Flaminio (keyboards, background vocals) and Regina Zernay Roberts (bass guitar, Moog synthesizer). So, even though you know he’s gonna show up late for his set, once the music starts there’s the added bonus of his estrogen rich company, who also seem to be pretty damn competent musicians to boot. The pairing of Cee Lo and the ladies has odd chemistry, and we like to imagine that every time they play “Fuck You” live spontaneous revenge sex breaks out in the crowd. L. Paul Mann caught the band at UC Santa Barbara’s 2011 Extravaganza and brought us some snaps to share.
Scott Dudelson braved the spandex ‘n’ leather jungle of Rock On The Range 2011, which drew a reported 70,000 people to Columbus, Ohio. Being honest, our inner hesher was bummed we weren’t right by Scott’s side, throwing the horns and downing cold beer. At least we have his snaps to tide us over. And there’s lots more from Scott’s lens at his new website dudelsonconcertphotography.com/.
The red lights stare and the curtain rises at the Boom Boom Room, an SF haunt that’s been the early crucible for a lot of terrific modern bands, and Rubblebucket leaps out, ready to join that list of greats-in-the-making with a group grope so sensual that it takes under a minute for bodies to press in even tighter, nostrils flaring, sweat beginning to drip but soon to pour, pooling in the hollows of backs and matting hair beautifully. Few young bands feed off a crowd’s energy like these Brooklyn-by-way-of-Vermont kids, and given the salivating reception they are receiving, Rubblebucket hits a hard charge early of the gate. They are a true original in a time when so much music seems like merely recombinant derivatives. Theirs is a very up-to-date, contemporary sound grounded in much, much older soil; the rhythms of reggae and Africa mingling with New York No-Wave, bubbling New Wave pop and a non-specific spiritual feel that’s intoxicating like private reserve communion wine with all the church-i-ness removed. Within two songs, I feel my own body temperature rise and grip the edge of the side stage, grinding semi-consciously, taken with full permission by the music and the charming band making it.
Eight strong onstage, Rubblebucket exhibits so much joy in what they do that one would have to be a big ol’ meanie to not brighten in their presence. If one is already of a positive mindset, well, they’ll send ya into orbit, as they did with many at the Boom Boom. At any given moment any number of elements might be the catalyst for launch – the keyboardist making the very most of the house Hammond organ, the undulating horns dancing in the air, or perhaps the pure aphrodisiac pow of lead singer Kalmia Traver. They also happen to write some kickass hooks, as witnessed by the hand dancing and sing-alongs during “Silly Fathers” and new standout “Came Out Of A Lady.” Even those unfamiliar with these gems from Rubblebucket’s new album Omega La La (still available for free download here) lift their arms to the sky and by song’s end, chanting the chorus along with the faithful.
Towards the end of the first set an idea jumps to the front of my skull: This vibrant, engaging and engaged music is what a whole world of music sounds like when properly masticated. In the 21st century we can access the flavors of every country and time period within the frozen grip of recorded music. It can be downright dismaying to face all of the options, sinkholes to swallow one everywhere, a lifetime spent only in the jazz aisle or carefully studying Brazil’s insanely rich musical history. But, there’s another option embodied by Rubblebucket, who run their hungry fingers through the soundwaves and pull together an elegant, borderless tapestry. Tribal chant, discoball fervor, classic soul, Radiohead-y rock and dub thunder all jostle inside their muse, often finding representation in a single piece, even though the notion defies logic. Great ideas often do thumb their noses at rationality. But the path less traveled isn’t found by the guy with a compass, and Rubblebucket are surely blazing their own trail. (Dennis Cook)
This hard touring group will performing extensively throughout the summer. Find their full tour schedule here. And check out the brand spankin’ new video for “Silly Fathers” below.
Once again, Dirty Impound is pleased to share John Margaretten’s pics for this show.
Dirty Impound Anniversary Show June 4
Join the Impound for a night of amazing music in San Francisco with our pals The Staxx Brothers and The New Up. Tickets for this gathering of sound and fury signifying something are available here. The Staxx kids will also be at the Boom Boom Room on Friday, June 3, to celebrate the release of their third album, Jungle Cat, which includes liner notes from DI’s Dennis Cook.