Jettison Charlie are local Richmond, have been around for upwards of six years, and appear on the verge of taking a decisive step forward. They've had a change in bass personnel and haven't lost a step, while putting a different kind of punch behind their songs. This was their first gig at the Zone, which has the best sound in Richmond (although that's not saying much), and I was excited to see them LOUD. They were, and they were also spot on. They ripped through a fiercely tight 45 minute set or so, mixing the heavy with the lilting. To make a lame attempt at comparison (and to compare them with a band few humans have heard), they do a lot of the same fussing with dynamics of tempo and volume that Hassan Chop! do, but a lot more seamlessly and with fewer jaunts into the odd. They also are fond of starts and stops. One guitar, somewhat metal-ish bass, and crisp, busy drums. They're doing a bunch of shows up and down the coast of East end of this month/beginning of next month in places like Balt, NY, Brooklyn, Portchester, Hartford, Boston, etc. Go see them. They're good.
Crackerbash were a surprise--I had expected Helios Creed, who had done support on either side of this gig, but in the end I'm sure HC wouldn't have been as enjoyable. Crackerbash are from Portland and have an album coming out on Empty Records. The lead singer looks like Joe Strummer with dyed blond eyebrows and a snootful of crank in his brain. The drummer weighs about 300 pounds and is active enough to make me ashamed that i don't thrash myself around as much as he does. Anyhow, the music seems deceptively simple but rocks really hard, mostly due to the guitar, which squeals and skronks its way through the whole set. The bass is left to carry the melodies, strummed in chords. The whole band has an abundance of energy and really infects a crowd. By the end, folks were well enamored of Crackerbash. The final song was done with Watt joining in on bass--I'd feel like the coolest guy on the planet if I was playing guitar and looked over to see Watt thunking away with me on bass.
I was hoping that the new material from the Hose would be better live than it sounded on record. I must now entirely blame J Mascis for fucking up Mr Machinery Operator, because it's the same old Hose. The new stuff is harder and a shade less funkdriven, but I like that stuff better. They showed a lot of chutzpa to play some of their quieter material, though, for a crowd that wanted to push and sweat.
During the set, Mike or somebody in front put a beer bottle down on a monitor. I guess it fell over or something, because the stage volume sound guy rushed over in the middle of a song to retrieve it and mop up. Watt lambasted him for doing too much coke, and nearly pushed him off stage into the crowd. He continued to yell at the guy the whole set. They did all the fave standards--Chemical Wire, Brave Captain, Honey Please, Slack Motherfucker, Revolution, etc. During Revolution, a fracas ensued between a man and a woman. The man was being overly slamhappy (I guess--the crowd seemed kind of tame to me), and she was talking to him about it. He pushed her away, I guess, because when he turned around again she popped him one right on the jaw. fIREHOSE only saw the guy pushing back, and gave him grief for hitting a girl. Oi. Oh, also, Watt kept getting shocked by the mike throughout the set, so they chose this opportunity to just quit.
If you're disappointed by the new album, go see them live. You'll feel better about yourself, and the world too. In fact, you'll probably go right out and donate to charity.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Today's concert flashback is from 19 years ago today. I pulled it off of a pole the week of the show, and have had it ever since. Anyone remember Digits and Peaches? Firehose just started playing shows again (for the first time since 1994) in the past few weeks. They formed out of the ashes of of The Minutemen in 1986. This flyer is from their show at The Flood Zone on April 13th, 1993 with Jettison Charlie & Crackerbash. Below the flyer is a review I found online of the show, as well as the video for the song Blaze, off Mr. Machinery Operator, the album they were supporting at this show.