Sunday, February 3, 2013

TG Olson, Poor Faulkner, and Brother Ares at Betty's Bar and Grill

Hello again boys and girls, it's time for another show writeup! Got a good tale for you with this one. Let me start with Betty's. I'd heard from Brother Ares' guitarist Blake that this place had a history of being a place where all sorts of weird groups would perform, even a few noise artists. I had this confirmed by a cool guy in my English class that I talked to about Merzbow; he said that Betty's attracted all kinds of different acts. I was rather disappointed then, when I walked in only to find it was just a crappy little beer bar with just a spot on the floor next to a pool table for bands to play in. It reminded me of a slightly larger Dino's, another shabby beer bar in Nashville where I saw Windhand play. To add insult to injury, the place was out of Yuengling Black & Tan! Most disappointing were the people, but more on that later.

First up was Across Tundras' frontman and mastermind T.G. Olson. Mr. Olson had an interesting setup going on, with an electric guitar lying horizontally on a guitar case with a metal slide laying on the frets while he played an amplified acoustic guitar. He played in an interesting, earnest, and involving style, with a lot of droning on the lower strings on the acoustic while he played what I am going to describe as flow and mellow yet ponderous campfire songs, songs you'd hear out on the prairie after being out on the trail for months. Really engaging stuff. I loved the supplementary noise created by the horizontal guitar.

However, the highlight of the night absolutely had to be when Tanner got into a random encounter with a wild drunk woman. She really wasn't as mild as she was rather drunk (a feat at a beer bar), not very attractive, and tipsily dancing to drone. The best part though was that with each dance moves, her jeans would slip down every so slightly. So at one point, this woman is getting down and comes right up in front of Tanner, and when she turns around he can't hold it together. To his credit he kept the song going, but his (and everyone else watching's) failure to stifle laughter was just enough to throw him off just for one hilarious moment. He finished his set out, and promptly said "man, I was look at four inches of buttcrack." Absolutely made the whole night worth it. Sadly I was not quick enough on the draw to capture photographic evidence, and I thought the startle and scare off the creature, so you'll have to take my word for it. But believe you me, it was probably one of the funniest thing I've seen at one of these shows. For more music and less buttcrack, have a stream:


Next up was Joey from Hellbender's solo project Poor Faulkner. Joey's guitarwork in Hellbender is pretty great. Grooving, driving, dynamic, technically skilled and even thoughtful. His solo style, while a little less groove-oriented, is still fantastic. He played both 6 and 12 string guitars with a dexterity and mastery that was a pleasure to watch. He strummed each guitar almost like a banjo at time, complete with a pick on nearly every finger. Sonically it was ebullient, flowing, and quite hypnotic, with just a hint of twang. I was fully drawn in, my trance only being broken by the inattentive bargoers who didn't seem to care in the slightest. Another black mark for Betty's. As soon as any of his music gets put online, you can bet that I'm going to post it here. EDIT: Here it is!




Blake, hamming it up
Last up was a duo that I have almost spent too much time talking about, Brother Ares. I'm proud to say that I have completed these guys' ritual and finally heard the last song from their upcoming album The Aviary that I hadn't heard yet, the mighty title track itself. Holy shit guys, from what I've seen, this album is going to kick ass. The band members described this track as a rather loose jam before the show, but they pulled it off spectacularly. They ripped through the rest of their (relatively short) setlist and had a damn good show all around. Really full of vigor and dare I say it, zazz. They knew the crowd didn't give a fuck, so they countered by giving no fucks of their own and played how they wanted to play. And it ruled. They ended up clearing the bar of the regulars, but who gives a shit, They didn't pay any cover. Fuck 'em. If they didn't like it, their loss, to each his own, etc. Look for their upcoming split with Knoxville weird doomers Billy Castro, their aforementioned full-length LP The Aviary, and possibly even a split with T.G. Olson/Across Tundras.

Hellbender was slated to play last, but some of the members weren't feeling up to it, so they said "fuck it." In most cases I would be frowning my hardest, but in these circumstances I can't blame them. If you had to not play a show, I'd say this was the one to cancel on. I'd just seen them play with Rwake at the Exit/In (complete with random synth-effect player who may or may not have been tripping his balls off), and it's not like I'm not going to see them again in the near future. Look for a new full-length album to come out in the near future(!!!), and stream some of their krautrockier stuff right here to tide you over until then.


Look for my review of In Fidelity, Pissbath, Choking on Ash, Good Luck Varsity, Pray for Teeth, Cerce, and Out of Time's show at the Owl Farm as soon as I get some time away from studying crap like this:


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