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June Music Shows
A user's guide
By Ben Larson
Fort Wayne Reader
Summer is here (finally, right?), and with it comes another great batch of shows from both touring and local bands. Here are some of the June highlights as I see them.
On June 6th, Florida’s Jacuzzi Boys will come to The Brass Rail with local support from Church Shoes and The Sacred Broncos. Another 60’s garage-revival group vis-a-vis Black Lips and, to an extent, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Jacuzzi Boys’ music sounds like a lost track from a Nuggets collection. That being said, it could be easy to dismiss them as just another amateurish band pretending that they live in southern California in 1965, except that they write really good songs. For my money, there is no such thing as too much jangle, and Jacuzzi Boys bring it in spades. Currently on tour to support their newest album, No Seasons, they will be joined by Church Shoes, a new local band featuring Nick and Mitch from The B-Sharps, as well as The Sacred Broncos, who many of you will know by their previous name, Jinx and the Back Alley Cats.
CS3’s Tiger Room will host Alive recording artists Buffalo Killers on June 11th. With a sound reminiscent of Blind Faith, BK’s music blends elements of boogie, psychedelia, americana, and original hard rock to create a fuzzed-out, mid-tempo rock-fest that caused Allmusic.com to describe the band as “[not] so much a stoner rock band as a band that makes rock that’s ideal for stoners.” This description might be a bit of a misnomer, however. While any trustafarian looking for some “crunchy grooves” will undoubtedly like Buffalo Killers, they will be equally appealing to any fan of Deep Purple, Crazy Horse, or the aforementioned Blind Faith. In short, if you like the sound of a Marshall amp turned up to 11, this is the show for you. This show will also feature the Americana folk-rock of local favorites Lee Miles & the Illegitimate Sons. We haven’t seen a lot of Lee and the boys (and lady) lately, so this will be an added treat to the night.
June 12th will bring Reverend Deadeye’s No Man Gospel Band to The Brass Rail with Michael Tarbox and Tom McSod. I found this on the Rev’s myspace page, and I think it pretty much speaks for itself: “The Reverend Deadeye is the Reverend’s son of a Reverend’s son. He spent his youth handlin’ snakes and performin’ at tent revivals alongside his Pentecostal family on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. This sacred musical heritage finds its way prominently into his performances. But don’t expect a Sunday mornin’ church service; instead, expect a Saturday night baptism with fire holy rollin’ revival. With his modified wok-lid resonator guitar, homemade beer can microphone, kick drum, and washtub snare, he delivers a punk-rock version of gritty pre-war delta blues which he blends with fiery gospel interpretations capable of turnin’ the whole room into a spirit filled bar room revival.” Cambridge, Mass’ Michael Tarbox is best known from his group, The Tarbox Ramblers, but he will be performing solo this night. With a much more mellow, subtle sound than Rev Deadeye, Tarbox’s music is closer to, say, Sun Kill Moon than Mississippi Fred McDowell. I like this Michael Tarbox guy a lot, and I’m bummed out that I will be out of town when he comes here. Local guitarist/singer Tom McSod (of The Staggerers) will be opening up the show this night as well, so this looks like it’s going to be a surprisingly diverse evening of music.
Those Darlins’ drop by the Brass Rail on June 19. Three women from the Nashville area, Those Darlins’ call themselves a pop group, but it’s the kind of pop you wish pop was more like these days, if you know what a mean — a little punk, a tad of country, lots of hooks… heck, you could call it rock n’ roll. The band’s self-titled debut album has garnered a lot of attention and praise, but it’s their live shows that seem to have been winning a lot of hearts and minds and made them a band to watch. Recently, Nikki Darlin suffered a couple of broken bones after a gig supporting Loretta Lynn, but as of this writing the gig at the Brass Rail (once again, that’s June 19) is still good to go. Tickets are only $6.
Local bastion Matt Kelley is celebrating One Lucky Guitar’s 10th anniversary this summer, and to celebrate he is bringing Pennsylvania’s Marah to the Brass Rail on June 20th, just 2 days before their new album, Life is a Problem, hits the streets. Widely hailed by critics as one of the best bands in the country, Marah have received high praise from such publications as the New York Times and USA Today. I usually cringe whenever I hear about a band that gets that much critical praise, because 9 times out of 10 the music fails to live up to the hype (see: My Morning Jacket), but Marah is actually a really, really good band. With electric guitars, horns, banjos, and piano, Marah seems to effortlessly blend elements of Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen, Levon Helm, and, oddly enough, the occasional nod to Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western film scores. Their music is richly textured, and they are able to make slight stylistic shifts from song to song that showcase the band’s diversity, but do so in such a subtle way that a casual listener might not be able to say exactly why each song sounds different. Rounding out the lineup that night will be a performance by Black Label Summer, which is one of Josh Hall of Thunderhawk’s side projects. If you like Thunderhawk, you’ll love Black Label Summer. It’s all definitely Hall’s unique brand of Guided by Voices and Replacements-inspired rock, but the BLS stuff is just a little more raw sounding than the usual Thunderhawk sound. Beware of this show if you are a musician, because it may make you go home and wonder if you’re just wasting your time.