Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Dead Rock West At Knuckleheads
I'm disappointed in my people.
Like most serious fans, I consider Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers concertgoers to be my brothers and sisters, if only for the night. It's insanely fun to sing Clyne's great songs, arm-in-arm, with friends both old and new.
I was initially thrilled when the promoter explained Tuesday's unusual setup at Knuckleheads. Dead Rock West would open on the smaller indoor stage. Weather permitting, Clyne would immediately follow on the outdoor stage. If it rained, Clyne would play on Dead Rock West's backline indoors.
It didn't work out like I expected. Almost all of Clyne's rabid fans chose to jockey for position at the outdoor stage as Dead Rock West tore it up indoors. It was an unfathomably silly decision that might only make sense for teenage girls at Warped Tour.
I've characterized Dead Rock West as "X without the anger." On Tuesday night- shamefully the first time I've seen the California band- they proved themselves to be much more than a clever catchphrase. They effortlessly moved from Mermaid Avenue-style grit to the shimmering pop melodies of original material like "Highway One." Incidentally, the excellent Honey and Salt is aging quite nicely.
And as I discovered when I interviewed Frank Lee Drennen in 2007, the members of Dead Rock West are very nice people as well.
At least Knuckleheads provides a live video feed throughout their ramshackle roadhouse. But seriously- which experience is better? Standing inches from the delightful Cindy Wasserman or picking up the show on retro-chic video monitors?
The next big thing? That's easy. As I've previously suggested, Kansas rapper XV is standing on the verge of getting it on.
Alacartoona plays Thursday's early show at Jardine's.
(Original images by There Stands the Glass.)