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.)


Rick i nPV said...

Love Dead Rock West and "Honey and Salt." But I caught 'em at Davey's a year or two ago, and Tues. is a work night for me, so I went Monday night to the bracing Dex Romweber/Detroit Cobras show at Riot Room. I can only do so much! Lotsa good shows upcoming ... Summer's here and the time is right ...

Happy In Bag said...

I almost lost a friend on Monday, Rick, when I insisted that I'd prefer to see either Detroit Cobras or Richard Buckner instead of Manchester Orchestra that night. So, how were the tough gals?

Rick in PV said...

Somewhat uninspired, at first, perhaps due to the small crowd (due to half of them being out back on the smoking porch). But they got into it and made me pogo by the end! Her voice (Rachel?) is a wondrous, soulful thing ...

Anonymous said...

I was confused by the set up as well. When we arrived, we took a seat right up front and watched 2 or 3 Dead Rock West songs, but then decided to head outside to get a spot for RCPM.

I enjoyed DRW, and would have liked to have seen more of them. Why couldn't they open on the big stage?

RCPM was incredible, of course. My review of that show can be found here:

Happy In Bag said...

I'm grateful for your review, Ron. I left after about 45 minutes of RCPM. How'd you like Steve Larson's replacement?

Anonymous said...

I only discovered RCPM last fall, so I never had the pleasure of seeing Larson in concert. I really can't compare Dalton to Larson because of this, but I will say that as a player, Dalton did a great job. As a new member, his job right now is to simply mimic what others have done (Larson and Blush), and he's doing a great job of that.

It'll be interesting if/how the guitar parts change as Dalton puts his own stamp on new material.

It was fun to see him jump into the crowd at the end of "Banditos."