Monday, September 21, 2009

Final House Show at Willy T's, 9/20/09

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 11:28 AM

click to enlarge Lambchop. Check out the slideshow for more photos.
An entire storybook capturing the current state of our local indie rock scene could have been written last night. Featuring 10 acts--eight of them local--William Tyler's final house show was quite the way to end an era of epic rock 'n' roll hospitality. The Spin arrived around 6 p.m. to find that we'd only missed Kelli Shay Hix's set and that there were still nine bands to go. Among them were JEFF the Brotherhood, Tim Chad and Sherry, Turbo Fruits, Caitlin Rose and--of course--Nashville's mighty kings of artistic credibility, Lambchop. It's amazing to realize that seeing the band play at a house party has become an occurrence that we now meet with a feeling of relative normalcy. Kurt Wagner even said (jokingly) that playing house parties is "pretty much all we do now." Frankly, we're still reeling from the tour de force of funk, folk and beauty that Wagner & Co. displayed. Sticking to up-tempo selections, the band--with an eight-man lineup, of course including Tyler himself--kept us dancing to drummer Scott Martin's ceaseless eighth-note grooves, reminding us that they are, indeed, the Kool and the Gang of pensive indie rock. The set was both transcendent and euphoric, catapulting us into an alternate ether-reality. Given the number of bands slated to perform, there were two "stages"--one upstairs, and another downstairs--for this little Tyler-roo. The first band to play upstairs were Air Waves, a Brooklyn trio whose poppy, no-frills take on K Records style twee-indie was a pleasant surprise and welcome addition to an already stellar lineup. After a rainy cigarette break and short bro-down with various characters of the local indie elite--a cycle that would repeat itself after each set--we made our way back downstairs for Wooden Wand, a Murfreesboro supergroup of sorts who--featuring Bingham Barnes, James Robbins and ace drummer Tyler Coppage--reminded us that it was still Americana week here in Music City. (Wooden Wand sounds way too much like The Gun Club to ever be welcomed to the festival, though.) Now back upstairs for the Spin's 9,892nd Caitlin Rose show. We could hear her sing the fabulous "Sinful Wishing Well" a million times and it still wouldn't be enough. Fittingly, at the end of the massive sing-along for "There's an Answer in One of These Bottles," we collectively realized that the keg was tapped. Fucking drag. It's comforting to know that there are some things in life that you can always count on. Like death, taxes and the sun setting in the west, you can't have a house show in Nashville without including something from the Wes Traylor oeuvre. So--par for the course--his newest ensemble, Natural Child, were up next. As always, their brand of big-hooked brash punk got all the kids pogoing to their hearts content--causing a scene that made us feel like we were in Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" video. If Maroon 5 made us want to dance, instead of use a shotgun to repaint our bedroom walls with bits of our own brains, they'd be called Tim Chad and Sherry. The band raised the party-vibe to a fevered pitch with enough smooth jamz and white neo-soul to give us multiples worthy of a Meg Ryan coffee shop scene. All before whipping us into a frenzy with their take on Ike and Tina's version of "Proud Mary"--making for the song's second Spin appearance this week. We then stumbled back downstairs for the other NYC band on the bill--The Beets. While they were not the same band as the fictional rock group on Nickelodeon, they were fairly animated. Snotty and energetic, they played some of the best Dead Milkmen and Vaselines knock-offs we've heard in a good while. Heading into our seventh straight hour of brain-splitting alcohol imbibing, lung-gouging nicotine consumption and ear-splitting rock 'n' roll, we were more than ready to keep it going with the night's penultimate band, Turbo Fruits--who played inside a giant cloud of ganja smoke. Featuring a hybrid lineup of current drummer Matt Hearn and former bassist Wes Traylor--in for the indisposed Dave McCowen--the Fruits' savage assault of volume proved too much for the neighbors. The fact that nine (!) bands managed to make it through their sets before the cops showed up is simply amazing. And on a Sunday night to boot. Risking threat of a citation, Willy T made the executive decision to keep the festivities rolling, and JEFF the Brotherhood proceeded to rock against authoritarian adversity. Their set was nothing short of what we've come to expect from a JEFF show--youthful pandemonium and uninhibited fraternal rocking. The experience has only gotten better since the band decided to start writing and performing pop songs. They made it through about six of them before the 5-0 returned to read our gracious host the riot act. We took overhearing the cops asking Tyler if this was his parents' house as our cue to leave. We were told that a citation was not issued and that Jake Orrall did the cops a kindness by giving them a jump, after the flashing lights drained their battery. Killer party!

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