Friday night, The Spin had some show-hoppin’ to do. Woohoo! We started out at Exit/In for Wax Fang and free Kings of Leon tix. Wax Fang is the brainchild of Louisville’s Scott Carney, recently mentioned on Jim James from My Morning Jacket’s New York Times “Playlist.” Last year, Carney released Black and Endless Night, on which he played all the instruments himself. The Fang is a heavier incarnation of the album, and he’s managed to surround himself with musicians whose prowess matches his own. It was the darkest, most melodic, physically satisfying rock ’n’ roll we’ve heard in a good, long while, and Carney’s costume angel wings were a reminder that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They’ll be back Oct. 11 to play The Basement. After nabbing our KOL tickets (must smoke Camel cigarettes...) and wishing the gents from Bang Bang Bang a hearty congrats on their deal with Warner Bros., we headed over to The Basement. Now, this is the second time we’ve arrived late there to be told, “You just missed one of the best bands in America.” Last time it was Cold War Kids (opening for Tapes ’N Tapes). We’ve since been converted, but this time it was Prabir and the Substitutes from Richmond, Va. Oh well, hopefully Grimey will be bringing them back. It was Smokin’ Josh Walker’s birthday, so there was a festive atmosphere, plus cake and cupcakes for all. Led by frontman Kyle Hamlett, Lylas played a set of pretty, jaunty indie rock with the birthday boy on drums. They resisted the urge to play long into the night because, as Hamlett put it, “We’ve got a lot of drinking to do.”
Nashville may be full of white boys and girls with a guitar, but last Thursday’s show at The Basement added a little twist to the formula. Between Cortney Tidwell’s betwitching, atmospheric performance and Kyle Andrew’s quirky bedroom pop, this was stuff that has no place at The Bluebird, though maybe it should. Opening was Peter Adams, a young singer-songwriter from Ohio who Andrews connected with over MySpace, stumbling across his profile and falling in love with his like-minded one-man band sound. Adams’ cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” was one of the evening’s pleasant surprises. The Spin has heard about all the positive things happening for Tidwell across the pond (go East, young Nashvillians!), and we weren’t disappointed when she took the stage. She’s a brazen performer without a lick of self-consciousness, and her songs are alternately pretty and jagged. Ryan Norris (of Lambchop, Hands of Cuba, Lone Official, et al.) on keys lent the proceedings an almost psychedelic feel—a heavy, melodic sound and just enough distortion. Last up was Andrews, back from doing shows in the Northeast, including a gig in New York that happened to be next door to De Novo Dahl’s, though he didn’t realize it until he saw their van. Andrews was joined by a spare, ever-changing combination of guitar, bass and even mandolin. It’s amazing to see his tunes transform from the electronic loops and crisp pop of Amos in Ohio to an intimacy that flirts with Americana. We left with a warm, fuzzy feeling, reminded of what an exciting time it is to be in this town.
Last Wednesday at The Belcourt was a night of no tuners, no amps and ravenous fans as Nickel Creek’s Chris Thile debuted his solo work. Only one show was originally scheduled, but demand prompted Thile to add a second performance later that night. As soon as he appeared, the crowd went nuts, then hushed up fast once he began quietly playing a song from his new record. The How to Grow Band were impressive backers: Noam Pikelny (affectionately referred to as “Pickles” by the band) on banjo, Greg Garrison on bass, Gabe Witcher on fiddle (who can be heard on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack), and local session guitar hero Bryan Sutton. It’s hard to tell if the ladies were at the show for the music or Thile’s good looks, as one particularly vocal fan shouted, “You’re hot!” between every song. When Thile remarked that his next tune was as of yet untitled, the fan suggested “Hot Pants!” prompting his retort of “Please stop it. Seriously.” The band threw in a number of covers, including songs from White Stripes, Gillian Welch, The Strokes and a killer version of Radiohead’s “Morning Bell” that the band owned so much you almost forgot they didn’t write it.
Pass the torch
The Harold Ford Jr. rally kicked off at a respectable 9 p.m. last Tuesday, with Hotpipes frontman Jon Rogers pumping up the crowd with his Jeff Buckley vocals and Dan Sommers tearing it up on drums. Next was Apollo Up!, rocking off their new record, Chariots of Fire. Jay Phillips wrenched notes from his guitar like he was wrestling an alligator, and the place crackled with head-banging and Jager Bombs ($8.25! Yikes!). Then Harold Ford Jr. took the stage and derailed the energy. We hurried to the front to hear what he had to say, but he was so quiet and lackluster that all we heard was generic “pass the torch” talk. The only heat came not from Harold Jr., but from the crowd—there was quite an outburst from a few patrons about his support of the gay marriage ban. De Novo Dahl looked the part, closing the show dressed in their politician’s best.
As The Spin heard rumors of last week, and NME reported Friday, Jamin Orrall, drummer for Be Your Own Pet, has left the band. He’s hoping to spend more time on Infinity Cat, his label, and JEFF, the guitar-drums duo he started with his brother Jake. And, in the words of NME, he is “keen to attend college.” A bold move—we wish him all the best.
A few weeks ago, The Spin reported on upstart cable outfit The Music Documentary Channel gathering signatures in support of its launch. A channel rep recently informed us that they’ve acquired some big names as board members—the likes of Leonard Cohen, Stewart Copeland, Lee Ranaldo, Ken Burns and Nick Cave.
Pull my finger
The Pull The Strings Players, a local puppet troupe opening for the Comedians of Comedy this Friday at Exit/In, will perform “One Brown Finger: The Saga of MC Homocyde.” The troupe, consisting of Eric Williams, Ben Pearson and Sami El Amri, might not be the headliners, but, if Patton Oswalt gets his way, the marquee will read “Puppet Show and the Comedians of Comedy,” Spinal Tap style.
Send free Camel cigs, Ryan Norris spottings and auditions for Bang Bang Bang’s debut video to email@example.com.