Gentleman Jess & His Men
with The Black Lips
The Cat's Cradle
Every once in a while a band comes along that plays pop music the way
it is meant to be played...that band is Gentle- man Jesse & His Men.
This Atlanta group is fronted by a man named, get this, Jesse!
Jesse Smith to be exact, a
member of the Carbonas, a good punk band that may be broken up now but
I'm too lazy to research it. I saw the
Carbonas play a few years back in Oakland and they were quite good
(even if I did like openers Beat Beat Beat better,
the side-project band of another one of the members). I'm not
qualified to report on Jesse's gentlemanlyness, but I
certainly have no problem noting that he can write some amazing pop
songs full of hooks.
They put on a fantastic live show - song after song that I had to
restrain myself from singing along to like I do in the car.
They played a lot of songs from their self-titled debut album, as well
as some new tracks and a King Tuff cover. It was
a very no nonsense affair, no goofy banter, no overlong tuning
problems, just an onslaught of power pop that you'd think
was straight out of a time machine from 1980. After a blistering
set and a lot of bad dancing on my part, I promptly
loaded up at the merch table and can now be seen tooling around
suburbia in a Gentleman Jesse t-shirt that surely
dumbfounds the soccer moms.
Despite my enthusiasm, Gentleman Jesse was not why most folks were at
this show, but rather they were there to see
the controversial Black Lips, they of the stage
pissing and fighting and making out with each other on stage. It
felt a bit put on to me, but I'm no expert in relieving ones self while
performing live so who knows?
I've tried and tried to listen to the Black Lips, and have many friends
who swear by them, but something about them has
always rubbed me the wrong way. I'd never seen them live though
and decided to stick around for a few songs and see
if my mind could be changed. The verdict? Eh, not
really. While their music is definitely more enjoyable in a live
it's still nothing special in my book - typical garage rock with a
slight psychedelic tinge (though their newest record is a
step in a better, more original direction). I do give them bonus
points for gratuitous and enthusiastic use of the smoke
machine in combination with some 60's era psychedelic light show
effects, but I still took off after about 30 minutes not
won over by this band yet again.
(I actually took photos of Gentleman Jesse, these will obviously get
posted whenever I get around to processing the film)
David Vandervelde - California
Breezes. David traded in some of the glam-pop of his
debut album for a taste of
70's era canyon folk. Not the smartest direction IMO, but still
Bonus: Someone Like You
Fleet Foxes - Tiger
Mountain Peasant Song. Hey look, Fleet Foxes!
Nobody has posted these guys before! Like
a tree sloth, sometimes it takes me a while to get around to shit, but
I always get there eventually.
Bonus: White Winter Hymnal
Mojave 3 - Big
Star Baby. I had
never paid much attention to these guys, but their album "Puzzles Like
these songs are taken from) is a damn pop masterpiece, one of the most
underrated records to come out in years.
Bonus: Breaking The Ice
Radar Bros - Happy
Spirits. It seems like I'm always posting Radar Bros.
songs...they need to stop putting out so
much awesome music so I can move on to other bands!
Bonus: Lake Life
The Velvet Underground - Rock
& Roll. True story: the Velvet Underground
authored many great songs.
Will Oldham - Barcelona.
Charmless - Action.
The Black Keys - Leavin'
All three of these tracks
came off of an Isota records compilation...I know the Charmless
track was available elsewhere,
but can't speak to the rareness of the other two tracks. I can
speak to them being really good songs though.