This past weekend was the return of the Council of Beards. Previously hosted and presented by the old Stone Tavern, this year found Lou setting up shop at the Outpost Concert Club for two nights of diverse, passionate music. Friday night saw sets from our pals in goosed and Actual Form, plus a bunch of others including Weird Penis and rebreather. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it out Friday, night, so I can only imagine how bad-assed it was. We were invited to play on Saturday night, and by some stroke of luck we were happy to get to play with Contra, the Oxnards, and Foul Spirits again. It was also great to see Fringe Candidate and I was blown away by SexyPigDivas!
Now, to be fair, the party started much earlier in the day, but I didn’t get there until about 5:30. When I arrived, Velcats were already mid-set, and from what I heard while I loaded in, they were pretty good. It reminded me a bit of the Clash in some ways. It was unfortunate to see that they had very few people watching them play, so I settled over in front of the stage as soon as I could. They were fun.
Our buds in Contra were up next. This band of riff master generals never fails to entertain with their neck wrecking instrumental songs. They sounded great, as they usually do, and ripped through their set with enough swagger to spare. At one point, it seemed like guitarist Chris Chiera was having trouble with a particular song, but he worked through the issues and it was all milk and honey. It’s alright, dude, we know that feeling. Anyhow, Contra was a late addition to the line-up, and I’m glad they were able to hop on.
Fringe Candidate was up next. I knew from anecdotal history that these guys were a beer-spraying blast of raw punk rock, but most of the other folks who had gathered up close to the stage apparently were not. From the moment that PBR tallboy was first shaken violently, there were a number of unhappy folks retreating away from the (now beer soaked) stage. This band features Jamie Stillman (Teeth of the Hydra, Relaxer, etc.) on bass and Joe Dennis (Party of Helicopters, Ultrasphinx, etc.) on guitar, and they put on a heck of a show! Stillman was abusing his bass to my delight, with a sound so blown-out and rotten that it was impossible not to notice. Dennis’ guitar was thick and raunchy as well, resulting in a pretty huge sound propping up the burly vocals. It was fun. Check them out if you haven’t!
We were up next, and from most accounts we did alright. It didn’t feel like our best show, but that almost always seems to be the case when we play bigger stages. We’re the type of band that likes to play jammed in on top of each other, and the lack of intimacy on a bigger stage works to our disadvantage. We flubbed a few changes here and there, but for the most part, it wasn’t half-bad. We played all three of the “newer” songs, and the folks seemed to like them, even if one of the night’s biggest miscues happened in one of them. We played Fast Times, Black Galaxy, Return/Release (new), Souvenir, Killing Buffalo, Cadaver Dogs At Dawn (new), Trouble’s Afoot At The Circle K (new), and Versus The Volcano. None of our gear exploded, so hallelujah for small miracles.
The Oxnards were up next, and I was thrilled. These guys have been a local favorite of mine for years, and seeing them emerge from their hiatus for this event was awesome. The band ripped through their set of infectious rock and roll as-if they were still regularly blasting clubs to bits with their high energy tunes. Wes Cowie is a great frontman, his eyes bulging while he lays into his guitar and belts out the vocals. They played a lean, efficient set that was all killer, no filler, including guest vocals on their closing number that were great. The only way it could have been better is if they had played five more songs. Also, I caught one of a couple free tshirts they threw into the crowd – win!
Thigh was unable to perform, so Revisiter was up next. It was just a single guy rapping over a backing track. He seemed to do good. It’s hard for me to say because I just wasn’t into it. To each their own. His opening song was humourous with the vocals being entirely about which highways to take to get to specific places. His beats were pretty smooth. Folks seemed into it.
Foul Spirits took the stage with a monstrous rendition of Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz that almost knocked me out of my pants. They dominated that cover with brutal authority, and it was great seeing new bassist Michael Torchia (Dissolute, Uncle No, etc.) rip with the band. Foul Spirits is a grade A metal band composed of insanely talented folks, and they easily had the largest crowd of the night as a result. These dudes put the work in and sounded mean as ever.
Khaki Blazer was up next. This was interesting stuff for background music, but it wasn’t anything I wanted to watch. No offense to the talented brain behind the music, it just wasn’t my thing. At some point, he locked into a pretty killer beat that I couldn’t help but jam to, but all in all, it felt more like I was waiting for the final band to take the stage than I was seeing something cool happen.
SexyPigDivas! were up next and blew me away. I had a vague notion of what to expect, but it was even better than I could have hoped for. This four piece played some dense, enveloping psych-rock sounding stuff that was killer. The synth riffs of Katie, paired with Bill’s (Ravenna Arsenal, goosed, etc.) bass made for a gigantic bottom end, and the guitar work was awesome. The drums tied it all together with precision and punch. If you have not seen this band, you are cheating yourself! Seriously! They are currently recording and I can’t wait to hear the result.
So there you have it. We played our third show in fourteen months and we got to see a bevy of great sets from one hard-hitting band after another. Oh yeah! There was also pizza from Lucci’s and I don’t think enough people knew it was there because I had a bunch of slices but the inventory never seemed to dip.