Big-in-Japan psychobilly cats The Quakes blasted me back to my youth with an impressive set at the Bug Jar Thursday night. Front man Paul Roman (an artist who has mastered the art of looking really pissed and really happy at the same time) seems to be sporting a new crew whenever he blows through town, but always has them tuned in to precisely what he wants. They sounded great.
The Broke Down warmed the stage with some really soulful, swingin' rock 'n' roll. I don't wanna dismiss any of Croonin' Kurt's previous projects --- I always dug his Hi-Geared Combo and really, really dug Diesel Daddy --- but this is the coolest thing he's ever done. Is it that smooth baritone? Is it the trumpet? Is it the way the bassist slings gunfighter-cool? Sure. Just good ol' barroom boogie done by seasoned dudes with the know-how.
After last year's hiatus we were due for another Bug Jar Music Fest in Highland Bowl. It probably would piss off the neighbors to have more events here, but Highland Bowl is going to waste, man. What a fantastic venue, just sitting there sadly vacant the majority of the time --- but not last Saturday. With the crowd peaking at around 650 it was a way-cool all-day shindig beneath the threat of battleship gray skies. I made it in time for headliners Heavy Trash.
This Jon Spencer/Matt Verta-Ray baby hit the stage blasting "The Loveless" like a bull out of the shoot-gate. The whole show dripped with Blues Explosion energy, and was tempered by the awesome backing powers of The Sadies, who are essentially this generation's answer to The Band. Hopefully their Last Waltz is a long, long way off...
Anyway they were ridiculously good with Spencer raging like a Pentecostal Presley, slashing at his guitar, felating the mic, and generally giving in to the music's temptation. It got funky, it got raunchy, and even managed to burn mellow with some keen doo-wop from the band as Spencer raved about teenage love. Best show of the extended weekend that is our summer.