Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gary Helicopter Crash (a.k.a. JamesPlaneWreck), Business Venture and Stepbrothers @ the Red Room (4/6/13)

This show caught my attention because of Business Venture, a new local band whose lineup includes the Ratings Battle's Matt Wildhagen and Jason "Bug" Burke.  Burke, as some readers will undoubtedly recall, has been recovering from a back injury.  I wanted to see how the man was doing and also hear what kind of music he'd come up with.  I was also curious about a band who had billed themselves under the odd moniker Gary Helicopter Crash.

I only counted thirteen people when I got to the Red Room.  That number would build to over forty as the night progressed.  Not too bad.

This show would've been worthwhile just to see this gentleman up and about.

Local pop-punk band Stepbrothers opened the show.  These guys sounded as tuneful and rousing as I remembered from the JamesPlaneWreck/Black Bolt show back in January and possibly a touch more confident.  I couldn't really hear what they were shouting up there, but their buzzsaw guitar and full-speed-ahead rhythm section rocked so hard that I didn't much care.  Their goofy, playful between-song banter helped ("This always happens.  I mean, his nipples are just so hard...  Before and after the show...").

Business Venture played next.  You can't keep a good punk down, I guess.  This set gave me the opportunity both to hear my friend Matt Wildhagen chug away on bass again and to see how well Jason Burke seems to be recuperating.  It did my heart inexpressible good to see Burke headbanging and slashing at his guitar strings.  Even better, the music was great: thunderous riffs, catchy tunes, blitzkrieg drumming (courtesy of Andrew Rader), smart lyrics, strong vocals (courtesy of Radillac's Nick O'Leary).  A group to watch out for.

I probably should have figured out sooner that Gary Helicopter Crash was a pseudonym for JamesPlaneWreck, but hey, I've never been too swift on the uptake.  Anyway, this set made me think of a story I read about a George Jones concert back in the day.  The Possum, the tale goes, was so hammered that one of his backing musicians had to whisper one lyric after the next in his ear.  When Jones opened his mouth, however, the songs came out so smoothly and inevitably that you'd have never known.

Aaron Smith admitted at one point that they were pretty darn drunk, but they only showed it by sounding a couple notches less intense and focused than has been their norm.  Judging from their seemingly effortless groove, you'd have thought that they were sober as a judge with Celiac disease on Palm Sunday.  The crowd certainly didn't seem to have any complaints: they whooped and cheered as loudly as usual.  Laid-back but still plenty forceful.

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