Tuesday, June 28, 2005


DaveAid last Saturday night felt a little weird for how unweird it felt. Since the bands that I most wanted to see had elements of bands that I'd seen multiple times 20-25 years ago, I expected some strange and unsettling time warping or deja-vuing, but instead they were just these bands that had some guys I recognized. That was actually a good thing.

I got there too late to catch Chrome-Plated Apostles, the latest band with Cliff Mann and Hunter Landon from the Bad Checks. I first saw the Bad Checks at the Culture Club in Raleigh in early '83 (I think) before Hunter joined the band. The next time I saw them was at the Cradle (at least two Cradle locations ago) when Hunter climbed on stage in his Chapel Hill High School graduation gown for the second set and tore the place up. They were the band I picked to play the Rhythm Alley the night before my wedding to J as my bachelor party. So, yeah, I'm sorry I missed them.

The band I was most interested in was Terry Anderson's Olympic Ass-Kicking Team. If you're from around here you probably know Terry as the drummer and main songwriter for the Fabulous Knobs (okay, you could argue that Mick and Keef were the primary songwriters for the Knobs, but they didn't ONLY cover Stones songs). Terry's also got a gold record for writing "Battleship Chains" made famous by the Georgia Satellites and made fabulous by Warren Zevon and the Hindu Love Gods. Knobs bassist Jack Cornell is playing with Terry again and they do truly kick ass, Olympic-style. Same kind of Southern take on the Tumbling Dice-era Stones as the Knobs and the Woods and they do it a dozen times better than the Black Crowes ever thought of. The crowd ate it up - the place was looking pretty empty when I first got there (the show actually started at 6 and TAOA-KT was the fourth band) but it filled up fast with people that were pretty obviously there mostly to see them. And since the next band was late showing up, what was planned to be a 45-50 minute set got stretched into a good hour and a half. Good shit.

Snatches of Pink was up next, another band that I'd booked into the Alley. Mike Rank is the only guy still in it from those days, Andy McMillan and Sarah Romwebber having long gone on to other things. The style has changed quite a bit too - to a much heavier sonic assault more reminiscent of the Ramones or the New York Dolls than the country punk of earlier versions of the band. Sandwiched in between Terry Anderson and SCOTS, a big chunk of the crowd melted away to the bar or outside for a smoke. I did have a revelation though - in addition to being the best country voice in town, a hell of a guitar player and all-around swell guy, John Howie Jr. can play the hell out of some drums (you KNEW I couldn't write up a show at the Cradle without mentioning John, didn't you! I think he's got a cot in the office or something.).

The highlight of the night for me was Southern Culture on the Skids, another band dating from the mid-80's that has undergone personnel changes since then. Rick Miller (then known as "the other Rick Miller" to differentiate from the Spectator music critic of the same name, now known as Parthenon Huxley. Don't worry if you didn't follow all of that - I probably made it all up) is still around and the longtime lineup with Dave Hartman and Mary Huff is tight. The best description I've heard of their stuff is Hillbilly Surf - it's fun, fun stuff and definitely got the audience back to the front of (and sometimes on) the stage. One thing I noted about all of these guys from all these bands that should have been obvious but maybe it wasn't - after 20 years of doing this stuff, you get better at it. I liked the guys from these bands when they were playing in 1982 and 1985 and 1987 and they've had a lot of time to practice since then and it shows.

I managed to stick around for the first few songs from The Meek with Stu Cole from the Squirrel Nut Zippers and at least one of the guys from Blind Melon (they were pretty damn good!) before realizing that I'd been there for about 5 hours, was out of money and was starting to fade. But it was a hell of a fun night seeing these guys and realizing in a very positive way that time hasn't stood still but these guys are still rocking out 20 years on.


At 9:56 PM, Blogger Karen A. Mann said...

Hey, I like your blog. Mind if I link to you?

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

Hiya, Karen! I appreciate the link! (and I see by your blog that great minds think alike - or at least background alike)

At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi man!
i really like your pics! :o)
so you've been lucky enough to see The Meek live! any pics from that show?


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