Bienvenidos a Miami
Thursday night's stop at Mercy Lounge was met with a sight and sound to which The Spin has unfortunately grown unaccustomed: a local electro act setting asses into motion. Melding a club-spawn, skull-shaking low end with a wall of guitars and talk-box pyrotechnics, the duo comprising Cherub also sports the silky smooth pipes to spread their appeal to all four corners of the dance floor.
Attendance was about what stereotypes would dictate regarding a dance-rock show in Music City, and the crowd seemed reluctant at first to embrace hometown synth-pop big 'uns How I Became the Bomb. We could have sworn HIBTB were hitting the nostalgia circuit and all these new faces were politely clapping whilst awaiting the clamor of live drums to end. Of course, The Bomb didn't become an international name by not knowing how to win over a crowd, and the influx of sing-alongers pushing their way to the front soon had the band's melodic disco frenzy shimmering in all its sleazy, powerhouse glory.
The first two words in The Spin's notes regarding Miami Horror read, "Duran Duran." As narrow-minded as it sounds even to us, it's pretty spot-on. These pop-heavy, disco-based power anthems come straight out of a decade thrice removed and were executed with the kind of showmanship then not difficult to find on an arena stage. With no laptops in sight, they riffed out arpeggios with ease and manned multiple synths with their bare hands. Miami Horror pulls its power from a persistent and unwavering tempo, not unlike a DJ set, and segues often and organically into extended instrumental jams rocked with the utmost chops.
Frontman Josh Moriarty, no doubt raped repeatedly by every eyeball in the house (and vice versa), exited the stage almost immediately after the first song to change into a bright red jacket. This, we're assuming, was so he could, several songs later, remove its handkerchief and wipe his brow ever so sensually. And we do mean sensually. Why there wasn't more underwear thrown on stage (or any underwear, for that matter) is beyond us. Seriously, when exactly did that trend die? Because, if ever there was a time for Nashville's young women to truly lose all control, it'd be during the encore rendition of Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al."
Seeing a full slate of bands at The End — like this one on Friday night — can sometimes feel like completing a marathon ... that is, if a marathon included beer drinking, cigarette smoking and conversation with Sound Guy Brad. We immediately noticed that frontman Charles Condor of Hans Condor had already broken a string, but it ain't a party until something gets broke. Just as we were enjoying the Condor's Stooges-inspired jams — and thinking about how they reminded us of turn-of-the-century local rockers Lucky Guns — the show ended with the drummer tearing apart his kit and a stage dive from Charles that nearly destroyed what was left of his guitar. The only thing missing was, well, more songs.
As Diarrhea Planet breezed through their 100-mph party rock, we quickly remembered that the most overlooked aspect of a DP show is the guy hidden behind a wall of guitar players: a phenomenal drummer in Casey Weissbuch. In fact, while watching DP interweave guitarmonies and intricate tapping at a breakneck speed, we realized once again that amid their good-time-Charlie attitude, these guys have some serious chops.
Local scene champion and authentic punk torchbearer Cy Barkley took the stage to a crowd that had turned surprisingly well-behaved. Cy's own calls for more stage diving went unanswered, but he nonetheless plowed through a powerful set of classic hardcore. After the show, one angry fan was overheard lamenting that the crowd's lack of energy and stage diving was "like totally disrespectful, man."
Indiana's TV Ghost, representing In the Red Records, featured a frontman sporting a Squier Jagstang, a Jesus and Mary Chain haircut and a missing front tooth. They performed an impressive set of post-punk that brought to mind The Cramps and Pere Ubu's thrashier moments.
Over the course of the evening we'd heard increasingly hyperbolic descriptions of The Spits' legendary live show. By all accounts, the Seattle trio laid waste to Springwater a year ago, and their return to Nashville in support of a new rarities LP was billed as a must-see by anyone who had a previous Spits experience. The band set up their back line with a flashing blue police light, a giant skull backdrop and strobe lights. They eventually reappeared in hooded cloaks and, after an ill-timed false start, sprinted through a set of two-minute punk anthems with nary a pause for anyone to catch their breath. Between stage dives and flying elbows, the sweaty crowd chanted along while The Spits offered no quarter in return. The climax of the show came when drummer Lance Phelps lit fire to his cymbals. And keeping with the punk tradition, the whole thing was over in about 35 minutes.
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