Archaic Interest/Sonic Graffiti/Concord America/Gunther Doug
Friday, December 19th 2014
The Fuzz Factory, Gulfport, FL
Originally published at Zero Warning
Originally published at Zero Warning
Do you like bands with two words in their names? Then read on.
Gunther Doug are originally from Sarasota, but now call Nashville home. From the outset their modern take on cow-punk is captivating, with definite similarities to the likes of the Meat Puppets II album, and vocal and volume changes akin to La Dispute or Listener. Country post-hardcore, perhaps? Singer-guitarist Devin wails and shreds through your typical country stories (church, killing your friends, etc), and also your less typical. "This song is about getting lost in a cave," advice to be careful when combining weed with spelunking. "This next song is an instrumental song about turtles. Go turtles." That one featured some lovely second wave emo strumming. The rocking chair in The Fuzz Factory is being very appropriately used in front of me, but rest assured, even when Gunther Doug play their last number and describe it as Nashville country, it's still fast and punky. I'm not sure if they did it, but their track "Christmas Song" makes a good addition to your non-shit holiday playlist.
This is the second-to-last "Happy Holidays" tour date Gunther Doug have with their management company rostermates, Concord America. Similar in energy and essence to the former band but with a Southern punk rock 'n' roll sound, Concord America are 3 loud guys from Atlanta, piloting a set full of dual vocals and dueling photographers. Guitarist and lead vocalist Ben Presley violently jerks his head from side-to-side as the band play through songs from their recent Suns Out Guns Out EP, such as "Vanilla Bastard" and "So Gay." The latter is reminiscent of The Hives' better garage punk moments (and is just as vaguely apolitical, for better or worse). While they might bear little resemblance to Jets to Brazil, Concord America are often as big and fast as the Concorde supersonic jet (well, until it was retired in 2003) and as big as America (well, until it implodes under its' own imperial hubris where we might also consider 2003 a turning point). They're going on tour again in the latter half of January, through a range of different states, and you can see those, as well as the "So Gay" music video, here.
The crowd has built steadily up to high numbers as Sonic Graffiti's singer Drew begins with a pleasant solo piece. Once the full group takes up instruments, the night of band names that appear on the surface at least to be inconsequential comes to an end, as the blender of blues, funk, punk and more that Sonic Graffiti produces is a fair audio equivalent to wild flashes of colour on a blank canvas wall. The erratic way Drew moves as he plays also fits despite the fact that he tells us he is sick, with every mammoth song coming, justifiably, with a guitar swing-and-stab ending. New tune "Fuck the Police, Fuck the Jesus Freaks" is unveiled just in time for both the protests against racist cop violence and all those annoying as shit "Keep Christ in Christmas" car magnets. Do you think there's going to be a breather between songs? Sonic Graffiti fear any significant breather is the touch of death: "NOBODYLEAVEWE'
REGONNAPLAYMORESONGSIPROMISE," an insistence
which causes everybody to absolutely not leave. "Get up for Another
Breakdown" is what they choose to close with, an apropos title because I
wish that I could get things done as well as a guy who plays guitar
with his teeth when he's been ill all week.
I have to confess that for a while I had been confusing Sonic Graffiti with the fellow local band that follows them here, though there's next-to-no musical basis for it. Archaic Interest are up quick but their swaying beach music is relaxed. The first three acts featured three dudes each, and as great as they were, thank god these lot changed things up, with five members, one of whom is female (punchy double-worded titles are one thing, but jesus). The vocals are hidden low among the psychedelic surf, as if My Bloody Valentine were spending time in a place with a tonne more sun than Dublin. In spite of not remembering who exactly was who I do remember seeing Archaic Interest at Don't Stop 2013 and being very impressed. Whether its that the rest of the bill here was so hard rocking or that their fairly short set became a tad repetitive I couldn't say, but it just wasn't the peak of the night. Maybe next time.
It turns out The Fuzz Factory snuck another gig in before the end of the year after this one that I didn't even know about. Learning this saddened me, as I can't remember the last time I felt a pull to go to gigs simply because of the venue -- which can only say positive things about The Factory and its new location. There's nothing fuzzy about it: supporting this space during 2015 will not be something you regret.