For those of us who do not suffer from what’s very uncommonly referred to as riggatriskaidekaphobia — or rather, the fear of Fridays that land on the 13th day of the month — Friday night was either a predictable excuse to revisit a popular horror franchise on Blu-ray, or to catch a rare appearance by local country satirist D. Striker. Striker, of course, performs only on the aforementioned weekday/date combination.
Striker’s first show of three this year was held at The Basement, where, shortly after arrival, we learned we’d missed Mystery Twins. (Some Spin operatives were across town seeing punk kiddos Feral Beat, D. Watusi and The Paperhead — which was as fun as a packed, smoky show with pretty awful sound can be ... but there were balloons!) Anyway, having seen the Twins — comprised of one-half local garage rock staple The Clutters — perform their folky rock duets before (Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange" was a favorite), we did, indeed, consider it a stroke of bad luck. But then again, spotting Birdcloud decked out in bright red thermal onesies as they set up onstage helped us get over it pretty quickly.
With a shtick so brazen and singularly dimensional, Birdcloud — who seemed to pack the most amount of folks into The Basement’s claustrophobic quarters — was born to be either loved or hated. One need only hear a half-a-minute of these two indelicate, foul-mouthed Southern belles and their undeniable gift for charming and callously catchy tunes — tunes that would send your Granny running to the nearest church pew — to know which side one lands on.
Next up, D. Striker took the stage in his trademark white suit — which the girl standing next to us could only seem to repeatedly describe only as “adorable." The choice to play exclusively on one happenstancial date and in one particular city might seem like a questionable and eccentric choice for anyone looking to capture an audience. But after hearing Striker’s cheeky-tongued set of lampooned country jams, it quickly makes perfect sense for newcomers. For starters, regardless how clever, not too many folks outside Nashville would or could enjoy so many pointed stabs at Music Row, numerous references to local landmarks, cameos from local rockers and songs built around Music City culture in general. Everyone knows, we’ll never have enough things in Nashville that are all about Nashville. Additionally, if you live around here, you already probably spend Sunday through Thursday (13th or otherwise) scoffing at the country music money-go-round and have seen The Alcohol Stuntband at least once — so this milder, countrified version can wear thin all the more quickly. Though a near-altercation in the front row featuring some aggro feelings and probably some drunkenness did heighten the entertainment quotient for a moment there.
Regardless, turns out the star of this spectacle was Ri¢hie — featuring treasured local sideman and former Ghostfinger frontman Richie Kirkpatrick and his newest band. Tossing aside the ‘Finger’s eclectic, genre-bending, Stones-heavy inclinations, Ri¢hie instead shoots it straight with his own quirky and irreverent take on art of pop power — somewhere between a Southern Marc Bolan and a "punk-rock Frank Zappa," as our pal put it. Clean riffs, catchy melodies, witty lyrics, and signature ludicrous soloing comprise pretty much everything you need for a badass rock band — but not necessarily all one needs to pay the bills. So we’ll have to settle for catching Ri¢hie again next time Richie isn't out on the road gigging.