Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buzzkill

Well, so much for my outpouring of enthusiasm for my new adopted home. Anna and I don't have jobs yet, and we spent pretty much all of our savings on the U-Haul. So we've been trying to find free shows to attend, since we simply don't have any extra money. Something Called Nothing advertised their performance this evening at Trophy's as being free. We know that bands don't always know what's up, so we called the club earlier this evening before we left. They assured us that there was "no cover until nine." So we showed up at eight, bought drinks, and dug the music of J.T. Wright & Solstice. Then, since we were enjoying ourselves so demonstratively during SCN's first song, the barmaid came over to tell us we each had to give her five dollars. We simply don't stand for these sort of bait and switch practices where I come from, so we walked out. All of my finely-honed instincts tell me that this kind of thing goes on constantly in this town, where there's way more clubs and bands than any one city can really hold comfortably. No skin off my back, I've got a finely-honed sense of justice -- and more importantly, a platform from which to wield it.

Sorry to Something Called Nothing -- we really hope to see you again soon. You're good, way better than the sloppy recordings on your MySpace page. I was all set to review this show based on those demos as an example of how attitude and instincts can go further than chops a lot of the time, but even after only one song I can tell that such a description would be selling this trio short. They're tight with great vocals, a southern edge than doesn't really come across on the Ramones-y recordings, and a wonderful melodic bass player. Absolutely not the last you or I will be hearing from them.

In any case, we did manage to catch the very tail end of J.T. Wright's happy hour set, and that alone made the outing well worth our bother. A mix of the organic early 70's Dead and Jeff Tweedy's stuff when he was still in Uncle Tupelo, J.T. and his trio play simple songs really well. Wright has a knack for writing songs that echo familiar progressions without falling over the ledge into plagiarism (as their MySpace description wryly acknowledges), and their cover of "Not Fade Away" mixes Holly's passion, the Stones' Bo Diddley arrangement, and Tupelo's good ol' boy roar. Refreshingly, Wright and his bassist use little teeny amplifiers instead of overpowered stacks. You can hear what they're doing, and when they jam it's impressive how clear the sound is. It holds together even when both are improvising pretty furiously, something that's way easier to conceptualize than execute. We'll see them again for sure -- since we know for certain they play every Wednesday and it's actually free.

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