Reid and right
Just as we feared, Bonnaroo has straight-up spoiled us to death. That misguided notion of being able to roll up to a show roughly on time and not have to wait around like a jackass never should have followed us back from Manchester. Following text message cries of boredom from our trusty photographer, we rolled up on The Zombie Shop at 10 p.m. to catch Reid Magette's release show for Shrine of Youth. And then we waited.
We ran to East Nashville to pick up a companion, making it back in time to catch precious little of New Pleasure. But it was enough to tell us exactly what their deal is. Which is to say, they're easily camouflaged in this three-piece garage thing that has been terrorizing our city's music scene for the past couple of years. For their part, New Pleasure's dirty, fuzzy garage rock felt closer to the young'un kiddie-punk circle — the one that also claims bands like Dirty Dreams and Mom and Dad — than their ever-so-slightly older and wiser brethren in the Nashville's Dead set, but we'd like to see more of them in the future. Any band that finds their Internet home on a Blogspot account called "I'll Fuck You up, Mick Jagger" is one worth keeping an eye on.
While waiting in line for a beer, our companion asked if The Zombie Shop had elevated the stage in the warehouse's rock 'n' roll corner. As it turns out, no — Richie Kirkpatrick is just really goddamn tall. Decked out in Western wear (rather than the referee uniform that we're not sure we've seen him out of in the better part of a year), Richie, along with his outfit Ri¢hie, settled into a set of country-tinged rock music owing tribute to Elvis Costello that would've felt a little out of place were we: A) not familiar with headliner Reid Magette, and B) not big fans of Kirkpatrick's old outfit, Ghostfinger, from way back. Richie might not be singing about being born on the moon, but his songs still have a sing-along anthem quality to them that is instantly charming.
A couple songs into Ri¢hie's set, power blew in the stage area and killed the amps. Without a moment of hesitation, Ri¢hie barreled straight through, letting the crowd act as his amplifiers. Maybe somebody was cued to trip the circuit breaker for a few seconds to give us a crazy powerful moment in the show. Or, maybe we were watching a show in a beat-up warehouse with lamps hanging from the ceiling. Either way, Richie (and Ri¢hie) is a total pro.
We've been singing the praises of Magette for a minute now, but we're totally enamored with his new band, especially the unironic saxophone. Reid Magette and the 1020s play anthemic, Springsteen-y rock music straight from the gut. It's so big that even the awful PA and dubious acoustics of the concrete Zombie Shop couldn't hold it back. We'd lump Magette into the same raw, boozy group as The Hold Steady and Titus Andronicus: earnest in their pursuit of power chords and saxophone solos, but down to earth enough to be affective in their gravelly, homespun way.
By the end of the night, Magette had the entire room wailing along to lyrics like "Last night / I got so loaded / I imploded" and endless refrains of "World's gonna end" from "Hobknobbin'." It was exactly what a weird show at a weird venue needs to be — chaotic, massive and drowned in keg beer. We'd love to hear these songs coming out of a PA that doesn't sound like someone did crimes to it in a dark alley, but, for now, we left totally satisfied.
Just another brick in Bridgestone Arena
Tuesday morning, as she was ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, one of The Spin's co-workers, a diehard Pink Floyd fan, was offered the chance to spend $500 on a front-row seat to Roger Waters' The Wall Live tour at Bridgestone. A tidy sum, to be sure, particularly if you're not in the hi-fidelity first-class traveling set. Still, we offered the only advice we could: screw responsibility, throw caution to the wind — and run like hell to the Bridgestone Arena.
It's not every day (or year, or decade) that the Andrew Lloyd Webber of psychedelic rock comes to town. (Perhaps calling Webber the Roger Waters of theater would more appropriate, since the stage impresario clearly ripped off the hook from Pink Floyd's "Echoes" for Phantom of the Opera. But we digress.) And sure enough, Waters, looking remarkably spry for a 68-year-old, rocked Bridgestone with enough pomp and spectacle to make even the most elaborate Broadway production look like the Little Rascals after Spanky shouts, "Hey! Let's put on a show!" In fact, Tuesday night's concert might just be the greatest arena rock show we've ever laid our dilated pupils on.
And that says a lot, particularly since The Wall isn't our first, second or even third favorite Floyd album. By the time Floyd's 11th studio effort hit the streets in 1979, the arty, otherworldly head trips that sparked our love affair had given way to heavy-handed anthems.
But hey, what works better in an arena setting than heavy-handed anthems! (See: U2.) And it's interesting to note that as Waters performed an entire rock opera that was chiefly inspired by disgust and animosity toward his audience, he couldn't have been more affable. Have we changed for the better? Has he mellowed? No matter — love was in the air, and we were along for the ride.
There were so many highlights that it's hard to recount them all: the titular monolith growing ever larger throughout the first set, as Rogers and bandmates (including G.E. Smith) pop up in various nooks and crannies; a group of Nashville school kids in "Fear Builds Walls" T-shirts storming the stage for "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2," singing, dancing and shouting down a four-story-tall ogre of a teacher; Waters performing "Mother" in unison with a video recording of him performing the song 30 years ago; the assorted cast of jack-booted thugs providing a dash of menace; and as always, the flying inflatable pig.
Though the album The Wall expressed some antiwar sentiment, it was more about alienation and abandonment in general, as well as distrust of the establishment. But Waters' stage version was dominated by direct and unambiguous critiques of war in all its forms. Throughout the show (and even intermission), images of soldiers and civilians killed in conflicts throughout the last century were projected onto the wall and screen above the stage, often including names and details about their deaths. The evening's most chilling moment featured the subtitled video of an Iraqi photojournalist and his assistant being gunned down by an American Apache helicopter — appropriately, during "Run Like Hell." After the video, a banner hung in front of the wall, reading, "Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chamgh, We Will Remember You." Waters' antiwar message might have been heavy-handed, but then again, some messages require heavy hands.
Nice piece, Jim.
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