Archive for the 'Culture' Category
This event review is long overdue, but I think it is still pretty relevant. My girlfriend Crystal and I were in Stephenson’s BBQ one afternoon, and we happened to see a handwritten notice for a Hank Williams Tribute Night at the Stewart Theater in Dunn, NC on Friday, August 9th, 2013. She is a Harnett County native, and I always enjoy visiting the area. It reminds me a great deal of how Davie County, NC where I grew up, used to be We both grew up listening to classic country, so this sounded like a good event. We found a bit more information on the Malpass Brother’s website, so we decided to drive down to Dunn and attend. The theater is right beside Sherrie’s Bakery, one of our long-time, down-home favorites in the area. We were very glad we did. This was the finest music event I had attended in the five years since I moved back to North Carolina. We had never seen the Malpass Brothers perform, and it was marvelous.
She adds: Everybody going into the concert (except for us) was dressed in their everyday clothes common to the Harnett County retired set–the men wore pressed jeans and short-sleeve button down shirts, some plain, some flashy (like Herbert Norris’ bold striped multicolored number); the women wore their floral-print blouses and pullovers, and their pull-on pants. Everyone looked neat and clean. The smattering of younger folks were wearing the standard shorts and t-shirt uniform, but even they looked like they had bathed recently. No one was wearing Patagonia, or REI gear. No hippie garb, no retro rockabilly stuff, not even many cowboy boots to be seen. This was a strictly sneaker and orthopedic shoe crowd (usual small-town footwear for people of a certain age). The big fellow seated behind us was an exception; he was dressed in a gut-straining t-shirt and baggy jeans, with a gimme cap that read “Bynum” (his employer, I guess).
This guy turned out to be a trove of local country music knowledge…he mentioned Jim Thornthon, a name I haven’t heard in 25 years. (The last time I heard it was from William Shires, my boss at the News Bureau at ECU in Greenville…he waxed nostalgic about Jim Thorton.) Jim Thornton was from Broadslab, a township near the Meadow community of Johnston County. (My mother is from Broadslab.) Thornton had a minor rockabilly hit in 1957, “I Want Everything My Baby’s Got”—he also had a local Saturday night TV show on Raleigh’s WRAL Channel 5…he was reputed to be drunk on the show and regularly ate out of what looked like a can of Yellow Rose dog food (one of the sponsors), but was actually a can of corned beef hash (something that most locals grew up eating, myself included). Below is a comment from the You Tube post of Jim Thornton’s single: “I remember when Jim had a late Saturday night tv show from WRAL channel 5 from raleigh, nc. jim was always about 2 sheets in the wind.”
The folks in that crowd KNEW the music that the Malprass Brothers and guests played; they didn’t just read about it in a bunch of articles written by blowhard artsy-fartsy music critics, and they sure didn’t hear about it in college… and a lot of them were probably current attendees of the “Benson Dance”…a regular Saturday-night event at the American Legion hall on Hwy 301 in Benson. This is where my daddy and his crowd went weekly to dance to local (very local) country pickers and a deejay until his death. The music at the Benson dance was classic country (Porter Wagoner–a huge local favorite, Hank, Cash, Charlie Rich, Charley Pride, etc.–what my daddy listened to in the 1950s – 1970s).
I dare say that some of the younger folks in the crowd also probably frequented The Junction in Benson, which grew out of a “closed door” country venue in someone’s field in the early 90s. This “private” club (you had to know someone to get in), was pure country grit. But it was the home of some good classic country and hardcore Southern rock, and toward the end of the night everyone from the barely legal to the age 70 + set two-stepped and waltzed together. It was also a good place to get your head busted open if you didn’t behave yourself.
I’m pretty sure most of the audience at the Hank Tribute Show was also familiar with the local AM radio station WCKB, Dunn. Its trasmitter tower located not far from the Stewart Theater. WCKB is now a Christian station, but in the 1970s it was the place for classic country, current country hits (I first heard Ronnie Milsap on that station), bluegrass, and the morning swap-shop call in show that my mama and I used to listen to when I was home during the summer.
As for the show itself, the Malpass Brothers were as unpretentious as they get. They delivered what that crowd came to hear…country in its cleanest, tightest, and most unself-conscious. No one on that stage or in that audience felt any need to to apologize for or denigrate what they liked by exaggerating it or mocking it. That band and their guests just plain brought it. And that crowd understood. They knew the gospel songs…they had heard them before…if not in church, then from their parents or grandparents. They knew the Marty Robbins songs, the Lefty Frizzell songs, and of course, the Hank songs. And they loved it when the elderly couple came up to sing (the wife left an impression on me…she was frail, and her voice was eerie…kind of keening, and reminiscent of Loretta Lynn when Loretta sounds a little rough in some of her more unpolished efforts. Harold Norris was a revelation…that old man was gittin’ it, and you could tell he was happy as hell to be on that stage. He had that rockabilly thing down a lot better than a bunch of these bored poseurs that try to do it with an ironic edge. He was the real thing, dressed in khaki pants and a colorblocked short sleeved button-down shirt.
I especially enjoyed, along with the rest of the crowd, watching Clyde Mattocks on the pedal steel. He was smooth, confident, and had a serious ladies’-man vibe going–at his age! (And I don’t think I was alone in that opinion.) His steel guitar was a centerpiece for that show. Curtis Wright (I think he may have been with Pure Prarie League, too–they were one of my favorites) added some rock to the mix…his performance showed more 1980s country rock stylings, as opposed to the straight-up 1950s country sound of the Malpass Brothers. Curtis Wright rocked “Kaw-Liga”–his yodeling was good stuff and got a big crowd response.
The audience also appreciated the stage banter, all the way from the offhand comments about who was the women’s favorite in the band (according to the emcee, the drummer), to Taylor Malpass’ nickname, to what I thought of as the “barbershop jokes”, to the list of local sponsors read off twice at the end of the show. At the end of the show, you could tell that this was a comfortable crowd, familiar with each other and the band. The whole night was like old home week for the audience…they knew the old Stewart Theatre from their youth, they knew the music, they knew each other, and a lot of them knew the band themselves.
This was real Country: the music, the people, and the venue. There were no “roots” snobs (they would have died before being seen with this crowd), no self-proclaimed music “scholars”, and no Country hipster sycophants. Unlike a lot of venues in the Triangle, no one snobbed off anyone because of how they sounded, dressed, or who wasn’t “pre-approved” on the band’s social media. Which is all pretty stupid, anyway. We didn’t know anyone there, and we were dressed very differently from the rest of the audience. But no one paid uas any mind, and everyone was nice. We chatted a bit with some of the people around his. If anyone here had acted the way they acted during our visit to Saxapawhaws a couple of years previously, they would probably have gotten their ass beaten in short order. After the show, the Malpass Brothers talked to everyone who approached them. Some of these songs brought tears to your eyes, or gave you goosebumps because it was as if you stepped back in 1956. But it was natural, and not contrived. There was no “irony”. Some of the performers were elderly, which you never see at the Country Hipster shows, and they brought a lifetime of musical skills to the stage. It was all strictly about the music. This is how an event is supposed to be.
JoCo Country, hell yeah.
From our Batcave friends in Poland:
“Return To The Batcave” celebrates its 5th successful year, and in honor of this anniversary, we decided to celebrate and expand the event into a mini-festival.
So that’s officially: Return To The Batcave Festival will take place on November, 30, 2013 in Wrocław (Poland)!
“Return To The Batcave” is the event which promotes crazy, spooky and twisted music known as post-punk, cold wave, deathrock, gothic-punk, gothabilly and other related weird and experimental music genres, as well as those with a lighter music touch and whose common denominator is the words “art” and “party”.
The Gothic-punk movement is amazing, both visually and musically, and very eclectic: combining the best and most fascinating music genres which have underground roots in the late 70′s and 80′s. As in previous years, “Return To The Batcave” would like to move back in time to the beginning of the 80′s and bring back the exciting atmosphere of the legendary London club Batcave.
Return To The Batcave Festival will feature the following bands:
Soror Dolorosa (FR)
Velvet Condom (FR)
The Proof (PL)
This Cold (PL)
Wieże Fabryk (PL)
Nacht Und Nebel (PL)
Augen X (PL)
After the concert, prepare for after-party until the pale dawn or you’re fallen, as you will.
Afterparty will be conducted by:
DJ Black Ossian (DarkItalia.it) (IT) (darkwave, post-punk, batcave, punk 70′, italian wave)
DJ Mss (Return To The Batcave / Bat-Cave.pl) (PL) (post-punk, deathrock, synth-punk)
DJane Novelty (Return To The Batcave / Ian Said Dance!) (PL) (post-punk, coldwave, 80 ‘)
DJ Woodraf (Return To The Batcave / Bat-Cave.pl) (PL) (goth-punk, batcave, coldwave, 80 ‘)
Doors open: 18:00
Gigs Start: 18:30
Tickets Cost: 50PLN (12,5€)
Location: Klub Muzyczny Liverpool﻿ Club, ul.Świdnicka 37, Wrocław (Poland)
Bat-Cave.pl / Return To The Batcave (www.bat-cave.pl)
Klimatyczne.pl – Dark Shop (www.klimatyczne.pl)
Chaorder Agency (www.facebook.com/SiedemZyczenpl)
DarkItalia.it – Music Magazine (www.darkitalia.it)
Castle Party Productions (www.castleparty.com)
Wrocławska Sekcja Alternatywna (www.wsa.org.pl)
Do you have any questions? Please email us at : firstname.lastname@example.org
More info: www.return.to.the.batcave.pl
When I moved back to NC in 2008, a mechanic at the garage where I took my car noticed I was into music, and recommended Rebel Son. The band played locally a few times, but due to work I unfortunately missed them, including the famous show where they opened for David Allan Coe. About a year ago I suddenly remembered them and looked up their videos on Youtube. I was instantly hooked. According to Rebel Son’s website, their CD’s are available locally at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh, NC. After work one day I stopped in and bought one. I had a nice chat with guy behind the counter, who was very knowledgeable about the band. We were overjoyed to be able to make the show at the Dog House in Fayetteville, NC on 9/7/2013.
We drove down to Fayetteville that afternoon, stopped to eat, and finally wandered into the Dog House about 6PM. After our experiences at some venues in the Triangle area, we were sort of wary, but this was totally needless. The Dog House was laid-back and everyone was just hanging out. Staff was friendly, and we struck up a conversation with a couple of guys who turned out to be manning Rebel Son’s merch table. They were super nice, and invited us to come an see them at their table when we finished our drinks.
There was a pretty diverse crowd, from hard-core bikers to Country/Metalheads, and no one paid anyone else any mind. Everyone was respectful of others. This was very refreshing after attending area music events where people looked at us with hostility and disdain for not “fitting in”. This was definitely NOT the case at The Dog House, and we had the most fun we have ever had at a concert! No one cared what you wore or how you sounded. They were there to RAWK out to Rebel Son, and party with friends. This is how all shows should be.
Lee Johnson and the band blew us away! The music was high-energy, shit-kickin’, and boot-stompin’ for nearly three hours. This was a real raise-hell concert that everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Johnston is vastly underrated as a guitarist. He is phenomenal, switching from covers to his original material with ease. The band is fabulous. It is hard to believe that you can get this sort of sound with only three guys. Rebel Son is one of the few bands I have heard that actually sound better in concert than on their studio releases. There was no “live-show-sloppiness” here! Everything was tight and spot-on. There was fine coordination and interplay between all the band members, and some of the songs were bass-driven!
Lee performed his classics, such as “Bury Me in Southern Ground” (our personal favorite); Chain Gang; Drunk Out; It’ll Probably Kill Us All; Mr. Confederate Man; Whiskey in the Jar; Hog Stompin’ Man’ ; Quit Your Bitchin’; Please Stand Up; What You Think ; 1-2-3; Southern Wind; Spanish Lady, and more. There were also some great covers of Waylon’s Lonesome, Ornery and Mean, Belle of the Ball; Cash’s Rusty Cage, and others. During the second half of the show, the band pulled all the stops, and it was no-holds-barred all the way to the end. Lee did some fabulous improvs, including a masterful one based on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” that turned into “Sittin’ Up Drinking With Robert E. Lee”, a song I dearly love.
No, Rebel Son didn’t always sound like “classic Country”. There were a lot of things thrown in. But it was pure REBEL SON. When Lee played Waylon’s “Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean”, it suddenly sounded more “authentic” than anyone else’s cover that I’ve heard. Waylon and his music had an edge. An edge that is sadly lacking in many of the classic country bands. Rebel Son weren’t trying to sound like a dead Country star, be “authentic”, or imitate anyone. They weren’t trying to be inoffensive and tame. NEITHER WAS WAYLON. Waylon didn’t give a bloody damn about whether he “offended” anyone or not. Rebel Son plays it like they feel it: sharp and mean as a Confederate bayonet at Antietam, and with heart. This ain’t no coffeehouse honky-tonk.
At The Dog House, hearing Lee Johnson and looking at the bikers, the girls drinking, and the head-bangers pushing up to the stage as they shouted out the lyrics to every song, I thought “Damn. This is what it must have been like back in 1973 listening to Waylon in some beat up Texas roadhouse.” Now THAT’S Country. At least to this old Southern boy.
A lot of people have songs about Country and Southern pride, including Merle Haggard; Rhett Atkins; Hank Jr; and, of course, David Allan Coe. But Rebel Son does something not many bands do in Country-related music. They express a direct sense of resentment and anger at the class prejudice aimed at “down home” country folks and Southerners in general by affluent Cultural Elitist types. My girlfriend and I have experienced this many times in the NC Triangle area. This Elitist crowd displays an open contempt for all things Southern. When they hear a Southern accent, their disdain is palpable. They disparage and mock Southern culture as being “redneck” or “hick”. A lot of them are the equivalent of modern day Carpetbaggers. They move down here to make money, then arrogantly insult everyone not like them. Apparently they can buy everything but manners. When I heard Rebel Son, it was like a rallying cry for those of us who are PROUD of our Southern culture and heritage. But their music is not only for Southerners. Anyone who has ever been looked down upon for who they are or where they come from from can relate to Rebel Son’s music. And yet, they don’t take themselves too seriously. Their music contains a large helping of humor, and deftly manages to be tongue-in-cheek and deadly earnest at the same time.
Rebel Son also understands that Country-inspired music is all about basic human emotions. Someone once complained that Country music “is all about screwing, getting drunk, and crying”. Well, when you strip life of the veneer, this is largely what it is. Sex, love, hate, revenge, and pain are the realities that most people face everyday. This is where Country music came from. This is what ALL music is about in one form or another. Sure, a lot of it is couched in high-blown, lofty metaphors, but it comes down to the same thing. If you’re feeling philosophical, read some Milton or Shakespeare. But if you’re “All Horned Up” or “On The Warpath”, go to a Rebel Son show. They don’t pussyfoot around!
To sum it all up, Rebel Son is an original. They are Southern Outlaw Speed Metal Country with balls! It doesn’t get any better than this.
“I may not have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth,
But I’m proud to be a no bullshit boy from down south.
I’m 100% workin man that’s what I’ll always be,
So you upper class can kiss my ass cause you ain’t worth a shit to me”. - What You Think
“You don’t like the South, you don’t have to stay” – On the Warpath.
Organized by Kris Prudhomme and Alethea Carr, “Age of Decay” is a Goth/Deathrock Festival that will be held on September 22 at Brewsters Megaplex 845 University Blvd. in Jacksonville, Fl. Midnight Calling has always been a supporter of true grass-roots Goth events and underground music. An enthusiastic supporter of the so-called “Deathrock Revival”. I became somewhat disenchanted at the ensuing commercialization and how scene politics seemed to supersede the music. For me, it has always been about the music. So I was very heartened to hear about The Age of Decay, which is a true grass-roots event funded by kickstarter. Even better, I learned it is being held in the Southern US, which has always been largely bypassed by the Deathrock and Goth events. I asked Alethea to write a few words about this new festival for our readers. This is what she has to say about “The Age of Decay”:
When Kris first sent out feelers for people who would be interested in seeing a Goth/Deathrock festival take place in the States, I jumped on it. I’d been looking for an opportunity to get more exposure for ‘proper Goth’ music, because there are so, so many great newer bands with the classic Gothic rock, Batcave, Deathrock, post-punk, new wave, or Darkwave sound that are under appreciated. Of course, true to Goth’s underground status, we can’t depend on mainstream media, advertising, and big record companies to promote these bands – and that’s not a bad thing. It provides the ability for bands to be uncompromising and not watered down, and it allows participants in the Goth community to actually have a hand in the subculture’s survival, vitality, and direction.
One of the concerns Kris and I heard again and again was that there is really no excuse for mixing in Raver, Techno, Metal, or other kinds of non-Goth music just because people are tired of the same 20 songs at club. (As far as that goes, there are hundreds upon hundreds of B-sides and underplayed tracks from the past 30 years of Goth music that deserve to be heard as well.) Age of Decay gives a platform to all the good, new music that our bands are putting out there, and as the biggest event of its kind in the States, it becomes a focal point for goths who love the music and know it takes priority over everything else. This first year features performances from bands such as Ex-Voto, Lestat, Strap On Halo, The Drowning Season, Entertainment, Ending the Vicious Cycle, Sapphire Rebellion, Asylum X III, and more to be announced. Artists in many different kinds of media and materials will also showcase and sell their dark and original best, as a celebration of the creativity our community encourages. Many Goths and friends of Goths have even chosen to be part of this project by giving funding through grassroots efforts. So all the many facets of DIY, from music to art to the organization and funding process itself are present in the Age of Decay festival.
Jacksonville, Florida was chosen for its robust musical and artistic environment, and its ability to accommodate large crowds of visitors, and honestly for its spectacular spring weather. With a breeze from the ocean and a mild sun, April 21 will be balmy enough to wear your fishnets without being cold and your leather without being hot! I’m excited to be part of this and eager to see each and every person who comes. ^v^