This show caught my attention because it featured James Plane Wreck, a local punk/hardrock-country band whom I've grown quite fond of, and a couple of groups I'd never encountered before.
I stopped by O'Michael's to wish Speedy Gray a belated Happy Birthday, so I didn't make it down in time to catch most of Go! Go! Jesus Genius's set. Sorry about that, guys. I'm sure I'll see you sometime soon. Heck, with a name like that, how could I not? Anyway, I was glad to see a decent enough crowd at this show. It helped a little that the drummer for the out-of-state band, Sad Horse, had family around these parts.
James Plane Wreck played the first set (that I saw) this night and may have delivered their best performance yet (that I've seen). Aaron Smith's winningly rough lead vocals and Shane Brown's jagged lead guitar rode atop Shaun Shireman's hard-driving basslines and Andrew Bagley's careening, unstoppable drumming. Nearly everyone in the crowd moved up to the front of the stage as this group played, and rightly so. Raucous, funny, smart and gloriously democratic in spirit, they reminded me of eveything that I love most about the Ramones and Hank Williams.
After James Plane Wreck came Sad Horse, a Portland-based, arty punk duo. Their scrawny sound, deadpan lyrics, humorously yelped vocals and harshly catchy one-to-two-minute tunes called to mind the Minutemen, Sonic Youth and especially Wire. Geoff Soule's guitar clanged, droned and freaked out while Elizabeth Venable pummeled her drumkit like it owed her an NEA grant. Post-collegiate punk enthusiast that I am, I liked it fine. It helped that they were smart enough to have a heart: their encore included an inspired, Lou Reed-esque cover of Dire Straits' "So Far Away."
You can look up info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.