RevCo & Co.
We had Thursday, Aug. 19, marked on our calendars for weeks and weeks, because we knew that newly semi-local rock outfit Colour Revolt were kicking off their tour — in support of their brand-new release, The Cradle — that night with Turbo Fruits at Mercy Lounge.
Once we'd made it back from the suburban no-man's-land known as Greater Nashville — an excursion that mostly consisted of giving our family a tutorial on how to use the Internet — we opted to head straight to Mercy. We'd say the place was somewhere around half-full (not too bad) as Turbo Fruits burned through their set. Now, we've probably seen the Fruits about 34 times since their inception — including back when it was just a gangly teenage Jonas Stein and now-long-gone drummer John Eatherly playing MC5- and T. Rex-inspired songs about weed and good-lookin' ladies. Now, it's Stein and a whole different cast of dudes — including a brand-new second guitarist named Kingsley ... that's seriously his name — playing MC5- and T. Rex-inspired songs about pot and fine-lookin' honeys. Truth be told, the addition of Kingsley on guitar seems to have given the rest of the dudes a bit of breathing room. They're still doing the blues- and Southern-leaning garage-punk thing, and they're still rocking most ferociously, but some of their newer tunes have a mellow, soul-infused kind of angle to them. We dig it.
Before Colour Revolt took the stage, we got a minute to talk to a couple Turbo Fruits, who are honestly our nominees for Hardest Touring Rock Band in the States — they're seriously on the road about 49 weeks of the year. They've apparently been tracking at local studio Battle Tapes lately in preparation for a long series of 7-inch releases. Hopefully, we'll hear a bit more on that before too long, but as it stands, we're intrigued.
As Jesse Coppenbarger and his crew of road-tested rock dudes took the stage, we noticed that Mercy had killed all of the overhead stage lights, instead using a pair of common desk lamps to illuminate Colour Revolt. It was kind of appropriately cinematic, really, given CR's verbose, prickly brand of sludgy, '90s-inspired indie rock. They played as a five-piece, and totally delivered album-quality renditions of tunes off The Cradle — from the dueling, jagged guitars to Coppenbarger's throaty, affected holler. We get Colour Revolt: It's caustic, lyrical rock 'n' roll for dudes who like Fugazi and Silkworm and early Modest Mouse. It's tough, it's thoughtful, and it's not for everybody, but "8 Years" is totally our jam. So godspeed to Colour Revolt as they take to the road. We're sure they'll knock 'em dead.
What is it good for?
Even with all the other options around town Friday night, we opted for L.A. psychedelic group Warpaint headlining a show at Exit/In with The Non-Commissioned Officers and Royal Bangs. In fairness, Warpaint did call Nashville their second home for some reason, so we can totally claim them, we guess.
We've seen Non-Comms roughly a quarter of a billion times (give or take), so we notice little things like the fact that they've got two new guitarists we've never seen before. But aside from Bizzaro Jordan Lehning and Skinny-Tie Jenkins, the Non-Comms are doing more or less the same thing as always. They're still favoring the '80s-inspired pop-rock tunes from their record, singer Eric Lehning's stage presence is still bizarre yet captivating, and their live show is still Bonnaroo-worthy. We got the feeling they were still breaking in the new guys, and some of the songs felt a little rushed, but it wasn't far off from any other recent Non-Comms set we've caught. Not quite the best we've seen from them, but still a good warm-up set, and that's all you can really ask for in the first band of the night.
While Royal Bangs set up, one of our compadres turned to us to ask what we knew about them. Our response, "They're one of the loudest bands we've ever seen," left our friend looking concerned. True to promise, Royal Bangs delivered their brand of off-kilter bone-shaking electro-fuzz that sends the uninitiated fleeing toward the bar with their fingers jammed in their ears. The effect was only bettered by the sweet Space Invaders lighting rig on loan to Exit/In while they decide whether or not they want to buy it. We think they should go for it, but nobody asked us.
After Royal Bangs left the stage, the wait for Warpaint began. And continued. For what felt like an hour. The band appeared onstage briefly, much to the delight of a handful of painted-up twentysomethings in the front, only to disappear into the back while the sound guy got things together. Some theorized that perhaps they were putting on GWAR-style costumes, and that's why they were taking so long. We at least expected some crappy face paint. No dice. All we got was a silly little band-member dance off and an audience that clearly had no idea what the fuck was going on.
But that was just the entrance, and anticlimactic as it might have been, we're not so petty that we can't look past that. Unfortunately, "anticlimactic" was the watchword for the whole damn show. Taken in bits and pieces, Warpaint were occasionally brilliant. They're all talented musicians, but their songs are unbelievably flat — a little too jammy, a little too hesitant. We didn't feel a single resonating moment in the entire set. We wanted to like it — we really did — but even while those paint-specked college kids were losing their minds at the foot of the stage, we just couldn't get down with it. Which is a shame, because there's nothing worse than a band with potential playing mediocre songs. At least we got a fancy light show out of the deal.
September's coming. Wake us up, or something! Email email@example.com.
Nice piece, Jim.
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