The Spin 

There was quite a crowd at The End Thursday night, some keen on seeing Girls & Boys’ final show and others just keenly aware that Raconteur Brendan Benson was in the house.

Out with a whimper

There was quite a crowd at The End Thursday night, some keen on seeing Girls & Boys’ final show and others just keenly aware that Raconteur Brendan Benson was in the house. Sometime after 10, an under-the-weather Chad McWherter began a short solo set that both confirmed his considerable talent and that short solo sets can be real yawners. Recent transplants Parachute Musical received a much warmer welcome, by contrast. There’s a pervasive singer-songwriter feel to their crowd-pleasing pop, and it’s certainly not a million miles of schmaltz from Ben Folds’ well-traveled territory. Josh Foster did manage to incorporate impressive piano prowess into his smarm ’n’ charm, but he didn’t manage to wear any shoes. We saw why when he finished off one song by using his toes (probably unnecessarily) to hit a wider range of notes. Not quite up to throwing the ol’ piano stool at the keys yet then. Anyway, it was all well and good, to be sure, but not why we were there. Which brings us to Girls & Boys, who, despite a long layoff and replacement drummer, had seldom sounded better. They exhausted their small but potent arsenal of white-kid R&B, with a scorching reworking of The Features’ criminally thrown-away “The Design” (complete with the original and far superior lyrics) included, and when an encore was literally demanded, the group didn’t have anything left to play. It was a fitting finale, though, like when Cheers ended with Ted Danson telling someone at the door, “Sorry, we’re closed.” Afterward, though, there were still plenty of drinks to be poured, as well as the prevailing likelihood that no one in Girls & Boys will go on to do anything as unsavory as Becker. We’re getting way off point here, so we might as well mention how percussionist and PBR-enthusiast Mike Stiles looked unsettlingly like Jules from Pulp Fiction.

Noble cause

We had to keep reminding ourselves (with glee!) that this Saturday was really like a Friday. We still had a full 48 hours till we had to report back to our desks—even if the cubicles here at the Scene do happen to be made of rainbows, cotton candy and Stephen Malkmus’ tears. 3 Crow Bar was hopping at its usual brisk, weekend pace. The back patio was warm and inviting—and we even spotted local singer-songwriter Jeremy Lister engaged in a rousing game of washers. This Saturday was also special because it marked the first official appearance of The Nobility (formerly Jetpack UK, and more formerly Jetpack). The local favorites and stars of the children’s book Inside a Rock Band decided it was time for a change after a myriad of legal troubles surrounding the old moniker—plus they have a new record coming out this summer and wanted to start fresh. As they put it on their MySpace page: “After much thought and contemplation, the powers that be here at the HQ feel strongly that not getting sued is much better than getting sued.” Amen, brother! The name may have changed but the spry power pop remained the same. Playing a bunch of songs off the tight, punchy EP The Art of Building a Moat, including the painfully catchy “Mathematics,” as well as some new tracks (off the new one we’re assuming), the quartet sounded tight as ever—and the sound in that room, often treacherous, sounded unabashedly fine. The boys of The Nobility seem to have amassed quite the female following and there were a couple of women getting seriously down in the open portion of the room, right in front of the stage. We felt a little awkward, but they looked like they were having fun. The band also threw in a short cover of the Cyndi Lauper classic “Time After Time,” which elicited an enthusiastic response. Jetpa…we mean The Nobility are another one of those Nashville bands who convince us we’re right when we claim we’ve got a thoroughly underrated scene. They’re just as good as many of the bands we see batted around national blogs and fawned over by effusive power-pop-o-philes. Who knows, maybe there will be something in a name (change).

Rock redux

We got to The End just in time on Saturday night to witness all of the bands, for better or worse. The Creeping Cruds’ horror punk set really wasn’t that memorable, particularly because their singer kept loudly demanding that everybody come to the front of the stage. Up next were Faun, who made a racket Robert Plant would’ve been proud of, even as they tossed their hair, made crazy rocker faces and generally straddled the line between Spinal Tap mockery and sincerity. The Hollywood Kills came somewhat closer to being modern, at least in the sense that they were sharply dressed and they performed with their shoes on. They were also seamlessly tight, but sometimes all that means is that you’ve practiced the same songs a thousand times. But nothing held up in comparison to the rarified youth explosion of Turbo Fruits. During their 35-minute flash of a set, they pogo-ed around the stage with freakish abandon, beating each and every glam-punk stomp of a song quickly into submission and then laughing at it. Kids were crowd-surfing (when was the last time you saw that at The End?), various items were chucked about, and girls randomly tumbled onstage and rolled around in beer, ecstatic. Singer Jonas Stein kept it together somehow with chaos ruling both onstage and off, while drummer John Eatherly became a blurry whirl of drumsticks and curly hair, blitzing the tempo of the unrelenting spectacle. Meanwhile, some tall skinny thing called Turbo Max spazzed out sidestage, doing something akin to rioting with his bass guitar, throwing his strap off numerous times only to have cute girls spill out of the crowd to re-attach it. We’ve not seen anything quite like it in some time, maybe ever. Pretty damn phenomenal.

Send your opinions on what local bands could use a name change, prescriptions for Ritalin for Turbo Fruits and your thoughts on going barefoot at The End to thespin@nashvillescene.com.

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