Check out the slideshows for more photos: Jemina Pearl; Daniel Pujol & The Ettes
We'll kick off this very special edition of The Spin by announcing with great enthusiasm that Nashville's favorite brazen, plus-size sound guy, Brad, has returned to The End. Missing for most of '09 for health reasons, he's back and sassier than ever, giving you even more reason to frequent the Rock Block's most rockin' hole in the wall.
Oh, also, we saw a show there.
We walked in and saw Daniel Pujol and The Whatever-His-Band-Is-Called-This-Weeks had already started up their set. Fresh off a short tour and no stranger to The Spin as of late, Pujol seems to get just a little better every time we see him. His speedy, noodling psych-punk calls to mind hints of the freewheeling blues pop of Bob Dylan, executed with the immediacy of Stiff Little Fingers. After finishing, Pujol excused himself to go play yet another set down the way at Springwater (where Natural Child was having a release show), taking a handful of fans with him and making way for a new crop of patrons who in full effect by the time The Ettes came onstage.
The Ettes have a new lead guitarist, which evens their ratio to equal parts boy and girl, and makes them sound at times a bit like Mudhoney. (For the record, we love Mudhoney.) In addition, all the properties we know and love about their fuzzy, bluesy, melodic rumble were all accounted for, and while their set length did test the limits of our attention span, but we were among the few, if any, that seemed to mind.
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By the time headliner Jemina Pearl stepped onstage, the crowd looked comparable to her Exit/In audience at Next Big Nashville, only this time in a much more appropriately sized room -- the most notable differences otherwise being the absence of guitarist Max Peebles and the addition of a drummer who looked barely old enough to drive, apparently also named Max. Sporting a foot brace to shield her freshly broken toe, Pearl launched into a set of cuts from her latest, Break It Up
-- a turbo-charged collection of razor-sharp, L.A.-style punk tunes reminiscent of early Blondie and X (not too far removed from her former band Be Your Own Pet), flavored just slightly here and there with elements of '60s girl-group pop.
With ex-BYOP drummer John Eatherly onstage, and former members Jonas Stein and Nathan Vasquez standing front row, it was nice to see the band's last known lineup all in effect and on good terms. There was more than one hopeful whisper of an impromptu reunion -- a wish that ultimately went unfulfilled. Maybe someday, fans.