Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Road Trip to Memphis: Gonerfest, Pt. 2

Posted by on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM

click to enlarge Gonerfest-thumb-200x78.jpg

When we struggled out of our motel room on Saturday, some time after 1 p.m., we were disoriented by the warm, breezy weather and clear sky. It was beautiful, but "cut us some slack, we haven't seen the sun in two weeks." After a quick breakfast at C.C.'s Coffee Shop, we headed over to Murphy's to see the afternoon show.

Murphy's is a bar and performance space with a patio area outside.

click to enlarge This is what it looks like inside.
  • This is what it looks like inside.

The whole area was crowded with attractive young people in slim-fitting jeans and band Tt-shirts--I've never seen so many pairs of knockoff Ray-Ban Wayfarers in my motherfuckin' life.

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click to enlarge Crowd_201.jpg

click to enlarge Crowd_202.jpg

Band performances were alternating between an indoor and outdoor stage, in order to prevent time lags between each performance. The first act we saw was the Teenage Whoremoans, from Philadelphia. Their singer announced, "Thank you, Knoxville," and they launched into a set of fast, sloppy, late-'70s style punk rock. Their songs included "You Give Me Wet Dreams," an (apparent) theme song, which announced, "We've got teenage whoremoans, and we're gonna moan all night," and "I Don't Wanna Go Back to the Swamp." Their last song concluded with the singer rushing off the stage, slam-dancing into various audience members, running back onto the stage, and falling on top of the drummer, whereupon everyone collapsed in a heap. What a ridiculous way to end a set! We had a great time.

click to enlarge The Teenage Whoremoans get photographed.
  • The Teenage Whoremoans get photographed.

The next band, playing indoors, was the Tampoffs. They're a four-piece from Boston, and not as outrageous-looking as their name suggests; in fact, they look like mature, responsible adult men with wives and nice cars. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as we found out--they played a very tight (and very loud) set of poppy, fast-but-not-ultra-fast punk songs. The person who appeared to be enjoying himself the most was Jay Reatard bassist Stephen Pope; we spotted him standing by the stage, shirtless, in white stretch pants, blissfully rocking out and smoking a cigarette.

We stopped him for a picture after the show, although just a quick one--"I'm supposed to introduce this band, but they've already started."

click to enlarge Pope.jpg

The band in question were power-poppers Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, but we took a break to go shopping at the Goner Records store. While there, we heard one employee opine that "Elvis had a big ol' backpack full of white privilege."

click to enlarge Records from the Goner store.
  • Records from the Goner store.

While walking around the neighborhood, we came upon an unusual store called Mews that had a window display consisting of nothing but cats asleep in baskets. These two cats cuddled for a really long time. Aww!

click to enlarge Cats.jpg

Raw homosexuality is what this world is about," announced Stephen Pope, in the middle of Hunx and His Punx's set. Well, it was what this show was about. We were back at Murphy's, and the San Francisco group was surpassing our already high expectations. Their songs, which combine double entendres with sugar-sweet girl-group melodies, were outrageously catchy, with just enough punk distortion. Hunx (real name: Seth Bogart), formerly of electro-rap act Gravy Train!!!!, had been removing his clothing piece by piece and was down to a gold scarf, feathered cap and short black shorts. His band was butched up in black leather vests and motorcycle caps. The bar was more packed than ever, filled with smoke and steam.

click to enlarge I told you this camera was bad.
  • I told you this camera was bad.

They played beloved past singles like "Hey Rocky," "Teardrops on My Telephone" and "Cruisin'." ("This goes out to all the gay people out there," he said, "which is probably, like, three.") After the song, Hunx announced that "we're going on tour tomorrow. And I just have to say, we're going to suck a lot of dick. And I don't pray much, but just I pray that they're big ones and not little ones."

After that, he played "Don't You Want Me Back" and introduced the band members, Will ("so hot"), Erin, Shannon, "and over here is my ex-boyfriend, Justin." Hunx stripped down further, and some erotic horseplay followed, although the bar was so crowded that it was hard to see what was going on. Hunx apologized to a fan who, apparently, insisted on inspecting his anatomy: "When it's hard, it's huge, but now, I dunno. I think I snorted too much Adderall." By the end of the final song he was standing on an amp and down to a g-string.

The audience demanded an encore. The Punx had already run through their repertoire, but were willing to be flexible: "We already did this one, but I'm down." The song was "You Don't Like Rock and Roll," and it was just as great the second time.

Coming up: Box Elders, Nobunny, Cheater Slicks and my celebrity encounter.

Previously: Gonerfest, Pt. 1.

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