Although the show flier promised an “all-new lineup,” what we saw at Chris Crofton’s birthday show Saturday night was a mostly old lineup — no pun intended, because they sound (and look!) young as hell. Crofton and bassist Dave Dawson were joined by new drummer Nick Davis. Due to an unfortunate concatenation of circumstances, we had missed power-pop openers The Faves, and got to The Basement just in time to join a large-ish crowd gathering for the start of the Alcohol Stuntband’s set. (The crowd was composed of a large proportion of dudes with either facial hair, glasses or both. We don’t know why this is — just a demographic observation.)
When the show began, it was so loud that we were driven to create impromptu earplugs out of napkin. And we were impressed with what we heard. Although Davis has only been with the band for six weeks, the rhythm section was rock solid, allowing Crofton to play fuzzy chords and licks at his leisure. Davis’ minimalist drumming style complements Dawson’s brilliant counter-melodies. The night’s setlist showed the band are embracing their hard rock side, with songs like “She’s Insane,” “Yeah,” and “B4 U Go to Jail.” “This song is about having the common fucking decency to make your girlfriend come before she goes to jail.”
With the show well underway, Crofton enthused, “Now I can get drunk! I was really being careful before.” They went on to play “Cocaine,” which presents the monologue of a drug-abusing everyman: “I’m gonna plant tomatoes! I’m gonna get a library card! In the morning — I mean, it’s gonna have to be tomorrow or something, it’s like 7 in the fucking morning now — I’m gonna finish that screenplay I started! I’m gonna start using a condom!”
One of their older numbers, “Alcohol Stuntman,” briefly took us to a more contemplative place, as Crofton informed the crowd that “everyone here is an enabler.” The next song was “Teenage Suicide,” which our notes describe as, “sounds all badass, kinda like Alice Cooper or something?” (Hey, at least we took notes.) Then came a song we don’t know the name, “about liking people’s wives.”
Along the way we were treated to some acerbic remarks on today’s culture. On music: “Are you people tired of fucking seventh graders impersonating the Beach Boys and calling it modern rock?” (Some wag: “I like fucking seventh graders!”) On the Red Door porch: “I hope that fucking thing falls down someday, and no one gets hurt.”
After playing fan favorites like “Bell Witch” and “Dickerson Pike,” ASB finished things off with the ultimate fan favorite, a (feedback-laden) rendition of “Traditional Blues Song.” The audience thanked Crofton by singing him “Happy Birthday,” horrifyingly out of tune. He thanked us in turn with the world’s shortest set of “her pussy was loose” jokes. It had been a successful night. We headed to the porch to be enabled by our fellow alcohol stuntmen and — women.