Out of the oblivion of Memphis low-fi rockers' The Oblivions emerged The Reigning Sound, a raw and low-down outfit full of Muscle Shoals muscle and stacks of Stax. The band rocked unpretentiously and unparalleled. Nobody did it better. Nobody, that is, until the advent of Rochester's The Fox Sisters. This band of brothers is a deep-dish, double-scoop of rock 'n' roll talent. It's a savage wail that runs deep from musical histories that, if added up, collectively equal dead. You've got members of Dog's Life, The Quitters, Hinkley, Veluxe, The Thundergods, and that's before you even get to drummer Rob Filardo's resume (want a copy? Send a SASE to City Newspaper and I'll do my best).
The band rocked an unbelievably packed house at Abilene Friday night. I think the crowd inadvertently -- and out of necessity -- invented a new dance called The Sardine. It's easy; just rub your body all over the bodies of the people shoehorned in around you. It was so crowded I went home with someone else's wallet. It was so crowded that when the girl next to me sneezed, she covered my mouth. You get the picture: it was packed.
The music was a full shot-from-the-hip delivery of blue-eyed soul and twisting r 'n' b. The band was locked in loose/tight and had an incredible groove and feel. What an awesome new band.
Headliner 5Head, which was mostly to blame for the copious crowd along with the gaggle of fine females lapping up the boogie ringside, exploded with a slick set of ska/pop that most ska/pop bands only think about in the shower. New tunes and old ones brought on another new dance we're going to call the Skankin' Sardine. I tell ya, it doesn't get much more fun than this.
I'm not intentionally following Minds Open Wide (no shame if I was), but the band seems to pop up on bills in a variety of venues all over the map. The band is an interesting study in extreme dynamics and stop/start control. Despite the precision, it has settled into a comfortable cruise and flow. The covers are more tongue-in-cheek than anything else, and during the band's brief set at The California Brew Haus on Saturday night I arrived at one suggestion. In much the same way that blues clubs around the United States have banned "Mustang Sally" from being covered, rock clubs should get together and enforce an injunction on "War Pigs." Let the crowd howl, "Oh lord, yes" to something else.