Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Greenhornes at The Basement, 9/1/10

Posted By on Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 12:04 PM

As soon as we heard that tickets to The Greenhornes’ show at The Basement Wednesday night were sold out, we knew we were going to have to deal with a hot, sweaty ass-ton of people packed into a pretty tight space. What’s more, we knew people’s motivations for being there would be mixed, and some of them a bit more sordid than others: latecomers who got into The Greenhornes because of the rhythm section’s involvement in The Raconteurs, gawkers just there to hopefully catch a glimpse of Jack White — yeah, yeah … he was there, leaning against the bar and trying to watch like everyone else — and genuine fans of thumping, Nuggets-style psychedelic garage rock. But hey, any way you look at it, we personally think it beats She & Him.

We showed up at The Basement just after 9 o’clock to find — as we’d anticipated — a sweaty ass-ton of people crowded near the stage, around the bar and spilling out onto the patio. My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel and his outfit were performing their low-key, Americana-flavored ballads amid what felt like a 100-degree cloud of evaporated butt sweat. Broemel’s songs were wistful, thoughtful and cleanly delivered — a far cry from the psychedelic roots rock we’re used to seeing him deliver alongside Jim James and the rest of MMJ, but still well-written and dipped in Southern sensibilities. It was, however, hard to make out some of the more ginger moments over the din of bustling Basement-goers.

Broemel’s set lasted for just over an hour, and the ’Hornes probably took somewhere in the neighborhood of half an hour to get their gear wedged onstage and set up. We spent most of that time bouncing between the front porch and patio, getting as much fresh air as we could manage. By the time they took the stage, with drummer Patrick Keeler announcing off-mic, "We're The Greenhornes from Cincinnati, Ohio ... and Nashville," The Spin had fought our way to the side of the stage, where we discovered about two inches' worth of breathing room.

The Greenhornes led off with "Can't Stand It," and despite not having played that or any other song live in the past five years, they didn't miss a beat. The original trio — Keeler, "Little" Jack Lawrence on bass and frontman Craig Fox — was joined by an auxiliary man who we think was sometime Raconteurs sideman Andrew Higley. Though we're not familiar with every shred of The Greenhornes' catalog, they raced through a set of blues-infused psych rock that betrayed obvious longstanding obsessions with garage innovators like 13th Floor Elevators, The Sonics, The Seeds and The Animals ... only quite possibly tighter, really. With word of a new full-length coming via Third Man in October, we were happy catch a glimpse of the dudes in their kinda-sorta adopted hometown while we could ... even if we did have to get other people's butt sweat on us.

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