When openers THE MULDOONS
took the stage at City Hall Sunday night for the sold-out RACONTEURS
show, it was two kids (aged 8 and 12) on guitars and vox and their dad (also JACK WHITE
’s former upholstery teacher) on drums. You could hear the crowd’s confusion—silence, except for a few gasps and giggles. When the band kicked into their first song, one of a handful of loose, scuzzy rock numbers (among them a Helmet cover), the audience seemed split between amusement, annoyance and thrill. “Say something!” a tall, jocky dude shouted at the band after their first song. Necks strained to view the two diminutive figures onstage with pageboy haircuts, their dad a gaunt figure in a beret. Something about kids playing punk rock at an age where they’re still too cute to truly seethe makes it nearly impossible to see it as anything but parody. But like a good Southern welcome wagon, the crowd rewarded the band for every rock posture, roaring each time they adopted a classic pose, jump or gesture, as when the brothers coordinated peacock moves, or when the wee Muldoon spazzed and jerked as he shouted vocals about imaginary friends. By the end, the crowd had warmed up and embraced the fledgling rockers—even if their material is more fit for a garage jam than a 1,200-capacity club. Opening with the prog-rock laced “Intimate Secretary,” The Raconteurs blazed through their material like supermen. White came out like a robust rock ’n’ roll outlaw, wearing a cowboy hat, red button-up shirt and black vest, every bit the strapping, muscular man we’d dreamed about. BRENDAN BENSON
did most of the talking, introducing each member by name and former hometown. The crowd waited politely until Benson got to White, who gave a sheepish grin and a quick salute, his first official acknowledgement of the audience and therefore worthy of uproarious affirmation. Elsewhere, White’s every squiggly lick, first vocal, strut or playfully traded shove with Benson was met with shrieks of pleasure. But this was more than just Jack White and some other dudes onstage. The sound was the best we’ve ever heard at City Hall, the band a well-oiled machine of superb players and performers. JACK LAWRENCE
rocked the bass with a staggering ease, drummer PATRICK KEELER
banged up a thunderous racket with his badass precision, and Benson’s poppy vocals were a pleasant foil to White’s ragged shrill. But the highlights were the rocked-up live versions of the more White-influenced tracks, such as the fevered stomp of “Store Bought Bones” and the extended slow-burn blues jam on the encore “Blue Veins,” which followed a loose mash-up of “Steady As She Goes” that threw The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” smack into the middle of the song. Then White sang an electrified, near-possessed version of Sonny Bono’s “Bang Bang.” He let the crowd know that the band had planned to play Nashville sooner, but “hoped it was OK” that they waited to play at City Hall. If anyone had minded, it’s not like you could tell. Everyone was too busy watching their favorite new resident. More Raconteurs photos at nashvillescene.com.
Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
When MICKEY AVALON
busted onstage at Play Dance Bar Thursday night, there weren’t that many people there, but within seconds, his Beverly Hills- and Bentley-soaked hipster rap had booties shakin’ and lust-filled thoughts flowing. Playing a handful of tracks off his debut, Avalon gyrated, doused himself in vodka (OK, it could
have been water) and seduced all 12 girls commanding the front row, evidenced by their copious stroking of his legs, chest and willingness to dance with their faces directly in front of his crotch. “So Rich, So Pretty” and “Waiting to Die” had the ladies merely fondling and singing (and Avalon grabbing one eager girl for a smooch), but when the glammed-out disco hustler-turned-MC played “Jane Fonda,” by this point shirtless, his posse of 20-somethings jumped onstage and trotted out their best bad-rap-video dance moves. Squats and thrusts anyone? Backstage, Avalon was just a nice Jewish guy in a leopard-print women’s coat who loved Nashville and all our “country shit.” And maybe Play wasn’t that packed, but he’d still found Nashville to be extremely friendly. “I feel like I’m in Jerusalem,” he said. Go to youtube.com and search "mickey avalon nashville" for video from the performance.
HOW I BECAME THE BOMB
headlined an evening of fun-time music last Saturday at Mercy Lounge and were greeted by a nearly full house. First up, taking the stage around 10:15 (where are we, The End?) were THE NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS
, who may or may not have been playing the last song of their brief existence—the band was put together to record the soundtrack to MAKE-OUT WITH VIOLENCE
, a locally made feature film. As such, the music was moody and atmospheric—complimented nicely by matching old-school khaki army fatigues—but also quirky and fun. Frontman ERIC LEHNING
has an almost unsettling composure about him—we could say creepy, but we’ll go with charismatic because it worked. Next up was Atlanta’s THE SELMANAIRES
, no strangers to these parts over the last year. Their spazzy, syncopated nerd rock was as tight as it’s ever been. By the time the Bomb took the stage, the crowd was ready to move—in part thanks to the nomadic LEFT CAN DANCE
crew who spun between sets. The old Bomb songs never get old—we swear “Secret Identity” has just got to get into the right blogger’s hands—but it was reassuring to note that the new stuff sounds just as catchy and deliciously ironic. John Burr’s enigmatic, earnest performance style and staccato dance moves really make the whole thing work because, even though they might come in bright, shiny, even silly packages, these songs are about something—alienation, loneliness and self-doubt. Though, we’ll admit, by the end of the encore, our mind was on little other than keeping the party going.
Playing their first Nashville show in two years, the wall of sound known as RAGMAN SON REVUE
filled just about every square decibel of sonic space at The Basement last Thursday night. With drums, bass, two guitars, organ, three horns and two backup singers, the band could have easily overpowered the small venue, but thanks to tight arrangements and GRIMEY
’s able hand at the soundboard, the sound was as good as we’ve heard at the club. Lead singer (and hit songwriter) Angelo half-sung and half-talked his way through a slinky set of rockin’ soul music, backed by a heavyweight band that included ubiquitous guitarist KENNY VAUGHAN
, who traded in his Western wear for a leather jacket and rocked the wah-wah pedal like it was 1973. (One onlooker commented, “Is it just me, or does he seem to be getting younger?” Another quipped, “He must have a painting in his attic.”) Among the highlights were some furious horn solos by saxophonists CHRIS WEST
and JIM HOKE
and trumpeter NEIL ROSENGARDEN.
Singers HILLARY LINDSEY
and EULENE SHERMAN
were great too, and added significant visual appeal to the proceedings. The crowd featured as many A-listers as the band, including bassist HAGS HAGGERTY
, drummer STEVE EBE
, singer BUTTERFLY BOUCHER
and producer ROGER MOUTENOT
If you’re Jack White and you wanna hang out, email email@example.com.