April 7, 2010

A Night of the Lively Undead and the Musically Dying

(Reposted from Colorado Music Buzz, April Issue)

I have a certain level of compassion and admiration for those that can get up on a stage, play their instruments, and pour their hearts out for tens, hundreds, or thousands of strangers. I couldn’t do it. Not only can I not play any instruments, but also I have stage fright, which reduces me to squeaking. As a result, even while watching the worst of bands, I can honestly listen and say, “Well, I sure as hell couldn’t do it.” Then I cover my ears.

That was exactly what I said at 3 Kings Tavern on the night of March 12th. The opening act, Saint Christopher, took the stage with all the cockiness of a Rock star that has stuck around the music scene a decade too long. He set up his equipment: a guitar and a single bass drum. I watched with excitement and interest as he prepared, my thoughts drifting to the fantastic Portland-based musician, McDougall. He, too, was a solo-act with only a guitar and a drum to round out his music.

Yet when Nebraska-based Saint Christopher started, I was let down. His songs consisted of shouting, playing the same chords repeatedly, and relying on the overall noise level to rile the crowd. After a couple of minutes I couldn’t differentiate the notes, couldn’t tell which sounds were coming from the singer and which from the guitar. It was like a relentless, pulsing “rrrrrrraaaawww,” not unlike sitting in a helicopter. Nevertheless, I told my friend, “Welp, I couldn’t do it,” to which he replied, “Yes, I think you could.”

After Saint Christopher, it was time for Widow’s Bane, the band we had come to see. As is the case every single time I have seen them perform, they blew the audience away. They have endless energy – especially considering they are made up of a bunch of dead guys – and their stage presence is something every band should strive to achieve. While many of their songs were the go-to tunes (such as “Haul Away, Boys”), which have created a local following, they also performed some newer songs. “Boni” stood out with its rhythmic beats, old-time Funk sound, and lively vocal shifting.

Yet all good things must end … and far too quickly when it’s a Bane show. (Can someone please book them for a two-hour show already?) Then it was time for the headliner, Kentucky-rocker Joe Buck Yourself. Once again, I watched (though with less excitement this time) as he set up his guitar and bass drum. Joe Buck could have well been the opener’s hard-livin’, older brother. If I had to categorize the type of music he played, it would be Tennessee-Punk: destructive and angry, yet decidedly rural, just like his former bandmate, Hank Williams III. Unlike the opening band, I wasn’t obligated to stick around. So I, yet again, proclaimed, “Well, I sure as hell couldn’t do it,” then quickly closed my tab.

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