Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hudson Falcons, Machine Gun Vendetta, False Idle @ Liquid (4/15/13)

A bartender at Mulligans tipped me off to this 1332 Records show a few days prior.  He told me that I wouldn't want to miss the headliner, Hudson Falcons.  This particular gentleman named one of his kids after Joe Strummer, so I don't take his recommendations lightly.  After a listen to a couple of Hudson Falcons' songs supported his endorsement, I resolved to get myself down to Liquid.

The place was almost empty when I arrived, but the audience would build to around forty as the night progressed.  Pretty damn good for a Monday.  What made me even happier was seeing all three members of the Ratings Battle--Matt Hunter, Matt Wildhagen and Josh Gross--in attendance.  Word has it that they're looking to rehearse and play some gigs again.  Fingers crossed.

Local band False Idle opened the show.  Their buzzsaw guitars, charging rhythm section, smart arrangements and shouted choruses got the evening off to a fine start.  An especially nice touch was when they dedicated a song about brotherhood to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Their guitar player sounded a little tongue-tied when he tried to make a speech about ending violence and such, but screw it--it's the thought that counts.

Machine Gun Vendetta, a four-piece outfit from Reno, NV, played next.  "This is a better turnout on a Monday than Portland was on a Thursday," bassist/lead singer Ay Dick said.  "You guys are f*ckin' rad."  This band deserved the turnout: dexterous, piercing guitar solos and agreeably rough vocals meshed with nimbly picked basslines and hyperkinetic drumming (the man earned that Minor Threat t-shirt).  Also, not only did they have a well-oiled groove, they had tunes solid enough to withstand the blitzkrieg.  The lyrics weren't bad either, from what I heard (freedom of thought and speech, f*ck tha po-lice, hope I die before I get old, etc.).  Ferocious, catchy stuff.

Hudson Falcons closed out the night.  I'm down with most any variant of punk you could name (and hey, I'll give the others a chance), but the one I love most is the Woody Guthrie contingent.  You know--the Clash, the Minutemen, Billy Bragg, like that.  With their lyrics about fighting for the people and not letting the bastards bring you down, this New Jersey group stationed themselves squarely in that camp.  They kept the tempos fast but not so fast that someone might have missed the train.  The touches of disco, funk and boogie signified not sellout but solidarity.  The camaraderie didn't end when the music stopped either: frontman Mark Linskey thanked the audience several times and crammed the set with shout-outs to the other bands, the venue, Levi Poppke, Matt Hunter, the guy who set up their first Boise gig (that got a big cheer), a guy they'd met a couple hours earlier and labor unions (now there's something you don't hear often enough nowadays).  Throughout, Hudson Falcons' anthemic tunes, sinewy groove, scorching guitar solos and winningly ugly vocals got the people pumping their fists and raising their tallboys high.  If I had to pick a favorite song, I might go with "Lonely Girl," an I-can't-believe-it's-not-Springsteen ode to rock n' roll salvation.  Righteous.

Playing slide guitar with a Budweiser bottle.  Now that is blue collar.

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