Sunday, December 30, 2012
Cerberus Rex, Brett Netson with Snakes and Tommy Dirtweed @ the Red Room (12/27/12)
I decided to check this show out because it had been a while since I'd seen Cerberus Rex. Also, it'd been even longer since I'd seen Brett Netson, and I'd never seen Tommy Dirtweed before. Hey, what else was I gonna do with all these spare ear cells?
I counted about twenty-six or twenty-seven people when I got down to the Red Room. As you might expect, a pretty solid crowd had built up by the time that Brett Netson played. As you might also expect, the aging hipster contingent formed an uncommonly high percentage of the audience this night. As they are, so shall I be, I suppose.
"SHUT UP!!!" That was how local musician Tommy Dirtweed kicked off his set. Eric the sound-man said he could take ten minutes, but the man said fuck that and launched into a couple numbers with just his blown-out voice, his plodding basswork and some drumming courtesy of J.R. from Wilt Chamberlin's Baby. When his two guitarists took the stage, the quartet busted out some textbook stoner rock: sludgy tempos, crude riffing, screamo vocals, dunderheaded lyrics. With his lethargic flailing and fist-pumping, Dirtweed came across as a parody of an 80's butt-rock frontman (or a stoner who secretly yearned to be one). J.R. delivered some of his patented naughty-boy shtick, stumbling up to the mic between songs to educate the crowd about the different types of marijuana. It's too bad that the guys in Cat Massacre weren't here: this set coulda given them hope for the longevity of dumbass transgressive art. All in all, mildly amusing.
Brett Netson and Snakes played soon after. Netson looked thinner and shorter than I remembered from Treefort, but of course, I was stuck back at the far end of the bar during his Sunday night set. In any case (and much more importantly), his music sounded quite a bit sharper than I remembered. It helped that, instead of acting like valets, the fluid, tune-carrying basslines and the steady, propulsive drumming served as equal partners to Netson's buckets of mind-bending wah-wah noise. As at Treefort, the heavy reverb on Netson's mic made it hard to understand what he was saying. As at Treefort, I doubted that it mattered much.
This set was especially noteworthy for its final number, when Tommy Dirtweed and Pat Perkins joined Netson onstage for an impromptu, one-song reunion of legendary local band Caustic Resin. "JUMP, MOTHERFUCKER!" Dirtweed shouted over Perkins's grinding drums and Netson's howling guitar. Only a couple of people obeyed, though I did observe some very enthusiastic nodding and bobbing.
Discretion kept me from taking a picture of Tommy Dirtweed dropping his pants and flashing his junk at the crowd. "I give you my all!" he told the people. Uh... thanks?
Cerberus Rex closed out the night and sounded in excellent form. Pat Perkins and Z.V. House's guitars, Jake Hite's drums and Josh Galloway's voice and bass all roiled, roared and pulverized as one. I like to think that you couldn't chalk up the crowd's more animated response to this set just to the drinks kicking in. As usual, I couldn't tell you what Josh Galloway was bellowing up there. As usual, that seemed beside the point--this was music designed to reach right into the id and blast it out. The voice just helped it penetrate the conscious mind's defenses.
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