We at The Spin spend an incredible amount of time playing the “sore thumb” in increasingly younger crowds — and we do it to keep the rest of you in the know as to what “the kids” are into these days. We weren’t the only party in our circle commenting on just how fresh the faces in the crowd were Friday night at The Zombie Shop. And as ancient as we may then feel by comparison, seeing younger faces at DIY shows means the system is still working, and the kids are still all right. In fact, they may be more all right than we ever were.
For example, local two-piece Fox Fun practically floored us with an outburst of high-octane Southern jangle-pop that sounded fresh enough to have been imported via flying DeLorean by Doc Brown himself. That is to say, this was the pure, uncut shit they got in Athens, Ga., back in the day, and how these precious youngsters got hold of it we have no clue. Equipped with just a 12-string guitar and drums, the two had a preternatural feel for dynamics, strategically softening the blow now and again with quiet interludes, making them sound that much bigger when kicking back into full throttle.
We’ve spilled more than our share of ink on semi-Nashvillian, semi-Memphian trio Cheap Time. But since our last exposure to the band was a muddied, practically instrumental fuzz fest at micro-dive Dino’s, we’re no longer sure if we even saw the same band. Having always traded on glammy riffs and a snotty punk delivery, Cheap Time has evolved into a louder, snottier, more anthemic, contemporary Southern response to Sex Pistols. Pitting even more shimmery guitar riffs against frontman/guitarist Jeffrey Novak’s snottier, brattier snarl, it seems what Cheap Time essentially did was take what they were doing, and did it a hell of a lot more.
At this point, most folks in the relatively packed room — which featured a cavalcade of local luminaries, including the likes of Serpents and Snakes crony and the night's primary crawfish chef, Seth Howell Riddle, and pop songstress Ke$ha — were either crowded about the stage for the main attraction or sitting off to the side picking apart plates of hard-boiled crustaceans. The Spin plowed through a plate out back while awaiting Heavy Cream's performance, and we must say, as nasty-looking as those little googly mudbugs are, Chef Riddle boiled the hell out of 'em rather skillfully. The spicy critter guts nearly scalded our lips right off, and that's the only way we like our Louisiana lobster. Painfully fiery.
They've always been three-fourths female, but Nashville’s prize punk export Heavy Cream is now officially 100-percent woman, having for the time being replaced former bass ringer Seth Sutton with Olivia Fancytramp of — you guessed it — Fancytramp fame. The new girl is more than capable of thumping out the band’s latest three-chord riffs from the brand-new Super Treatment, and on Friday night, she did so with a bopping energy that nearly even matched that of brassiere-sporting spark plug and 'tude-drenched frontwoman Jessica McFarland. Heavy Cream has achieved what any band logically aspires to do, and that is simply get better with age. We weren’t necessarily sure if we could quite dig on these infantile, snot-punk, Suzi Quatro-recalling darlings at their genesis. But now that they've simmered into a melodic, mid-tempo snarl machine thanks to dozens and dozens of road-tested, sweaty rock 'n' roll sets, it might be safe to say we finally get it.
The show was done early — shortly after midnight is early in The Spin's world — and while the option of a solid after-party hang at Dino's on the East Side loomed pretty large, we resolved to call it a night, heading home to let Heavy Cream melodies — like those of "John Johnny" and "The Jam," especially — dance around in our brains while mudbug meat danced around in our bellies. Awesome? Gross? Grossome.