Friday, May 26, 2006

Last night we checked out two bands I'd never seen before, one of which was in a venue where I'd never seen the band. Uncomfortable was winsome pop rock, though I really can't say much for their vocals. They have a pretty devoted following, though. They played at Alibi, where I've hung out for dance parties and just chatting with friends. it's a pretty small space, and the band was jammed back near the bathrooms, but it did have kind of a homey atmosphere. Here's their video:

Uncomfortable from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Next up was The Crossing, a band my friend Monty knows from Tennessee. They're originally from Johnson City, and spent time in New York, but now are in the process of moving to Nashville.

They were pretty slick, early '80s Southern jangle rock with some elements of U2 thrown in. I could imagine these guys on a bill with The Connells and Light in August (any Raleighites remember them?) back in 1986. Check out the video:

(Video removed)

Here are some more photos of both bands.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Black Skies at Slim's

If you think (like many of us in Raleigh) that bands from Chapel Hill aren't heavy enough, one listen to Black Skies will certainly change your mind. This trio is HEAVY and loud with a distinct Sabbath influence. Singer/guitarist Kevin Clark was in Snatches of Pink, and is known far and wide as the doorman at Cat's Cradle. Drummer Tom White has been in The Rails with Justin Gray and Johny Rock 'n' Roll, and was also the original drummer for Picasso Trigger. Together Kevin and Tom were in a band called The Man with bass player Michelle Temple. When The Man broke up, the three of them stuck together and formed Black Skies.

I took several cool photos (check out the Flickr set) and got two videos.

Unfortunately, because Slim's is pretty dark, my camera's movie mode doesn't work well there. The second one looks better; both sound OK, but not great.

Black Skies from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Black Skies performing "Aqua Dogs."

This was their second try on this song. "Aqua Dogs" was supposed to be their opener, but while playing, something happened to Kevin's amp head. They switched it out with the opening band's head, and tried again.

Another one by Black Skies from Mann's World on Vimeo.

I don't know the name of this one.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I got a chance to see Oakley Hall (Myspace), a psychedelic folk-rock group from Brooklyn, last night at Kings. According to at least one knowledgeable person I talked to, the main male singer used to be in Oneida, and one of the women in the band has something to do with the Werehouse in Winston-Salem. Interesting male-female vocal dynamics, lots of guitars, lap-steel and an electric violin. They reminded me somewhat of The Band, not so much in sound but in the spirit of what they're doing -- putting a rustic feel on some good, spacey pop music.

Here's the video:

Oakley Hall from Mann's World on Vimeo.

They opened for TV Knife (Myspace), a band that I can honestly say doesn't sound like anything else around here. If anything, they sound like a time capsule from 1975, in which you might find a Hawaiian shirt, a hot-tub, a bag of cocaine, a pair of Candies and an 8-track copy of Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees" (OK, it would be a big time capsule). I will personally give every member of this band $1 if they cover "Lowdown" the next time they play.

Here's the video:

TV Knife from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Also, check out the Flickr set from the show.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

(From left: Brian Huskey, Mitchell McGirt, Chris Longworth) photo by Mike Traister)

I've been enjoying a real blast from the past these last couple of days. Mitchell McGirt, singer/guitarist of the old Greensboro band Bicycle Face finally put the band's music, and some of his hilarious Mixmaster Mitch mixes, on CD. I will admit that when the band was actually active, I wasn't a huge fan, but listening to these CDs has made me really appreciate what clever songwriters Mitch and Brian Huskey are. Of course, Brian is now known for his comedy, especially his work on Comedy Central and VH1's "Best Week Ever" (not to metion his Hardee's commercials), and his comic talent is evident in these old songs. I've included link's to two of my personal favorites: Irrelevant and I Fell in Love (In the Graveyard).

Here's a picture of the band with Evan Smith, who was never in the band, so I don't really know why he's in the photo. Eric Shepard from Geezer Lake took this one.

What makes the band good is the way Brian's quirky humor plays off of Mitch's self-referential weirdness. A good example of Mitch-style wackiness is the "Mixmaster Mitch" CD. One day back in 1991, Mitch decided, for reasons known only to himself, to create a tape with a bunch of songs and samples mashed together. Mitch's great loves were '80s new wave, local music and twangy country. He also had a bunch of old tapes of himself learning to play guitar, tapes of his old high school band playing such gems as "Sweet Home Alabama" and tapes of Bicycle Face doing dumb stuff. He also had one of the funniest things I've ever heard in my life: A secretly recorded telephone conversation between an older Southern man and his crying, drunk mistress. At one point duirng this conversation, the man tells her, "This is ridiculous," but he really draws it out, so it comes out as "THIS is ru-DICK-a-lus." Mitch combined this little nugget with Johnny Paycheck singing "Take the Job and Shove It," then put it over a power pop song that's either by Majosha (Ben Folds' first band), or Evan Olsen and the Straight Ahead. Or maybe it's a Snuzz song. Regardless, it was a local band. The result is classic.

After spending all day on this masterpiece, Mitch went to every party that took place in Greensboro for the next two weeks or so, and insisted on playing it. Other songs on the CD included a mix of Missing Persons' "Life is So Strange" with Rich Hall saying over and over, " ... now let me tell you about the shopping center"; a song with the opening drum beat from Foxy Lady, with a teenage Mitch struggly to play something (maybe Foxy Lady?) while either Jerry Clower or Mitch's dad says over and over, "Woo! Beautiful!"; a mix of The Shaggs and the full Eddie Murphy gay "Honeymooners" routine. Finally, there's a mix of a goofy, throw-away filler tune from R.E.M.'s "Reckoning" record, a recording of Bicycle Face getting into a mock fight on the air on WQFS (complete with Chris Longworth -- who apparently forgot he was being recorded live -- hollering out "We're leaving! Fuck this shit!"), and Brian Huskey talking about a song he had written about the pain his mother put him through. You can hear that one here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Last night The Greatest Hits played with Dirty Johnny and the Make-Believes and the Caspian Sea Monsters at Kings. But since it was a school night (so to speak), I just caught the first two bands. The best part of the evening, though, was being introduced to Horniblow's (pictured above), a weird little brew pub in a warehouse in this industrial complex off of Atlantic Avenue. There's free pool and ping pong, and awesome site-brewed ales and lagers in a hidden-away place that looks like someone's rec room from the 70s. I ran into my old pal Dave Rogers who now manages who described the bar's aura succinctly: "This place looks like the bar that someone's dad decided to put in his basement." The place was pretty empty, but I hear that it gets busy on bluegrass nights (usually Tuesdays). I will definitely be going back. Now for the videos:

Caspian Sea Monsters from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Caspian Sea Monsters

Dirty Johnny & the Make-Believes from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Dirty Johnny and the Make-Believes