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Mudcat at Northside Tavern,
Brodie Stove, Hope for a Golden Summer, and Hot Young Priest
at The Earl
January 2006

Whenever I get annoyed with the United States I should remember it ain't the country as a whole, it's the government and the middle-class wankers than elected them and the upper-class assholes that talked them into it that really get my goat. But the idea of America itself is a Mudcat show - young, old, black, white, horns, strings, guitar, drums, dancing, drinking fuckin' melting pot of the world, and halleluiah for it too. Sure, around the corner the soul-less zombies are lined up in the cold to get into Compound to drink cold drinks with cold stares to soul-less pounding music. But Northside has slide guitar and a slippery trombone and super hot Lori-Beth wailing out celebratory blues while the crowd bounces up and down, wall to wall.
And that's why I hate fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Baptists and anyone else that takes the fun out of fundamentalism. Go ahead and believe that the next life is the true and real life, your eternal reward, but don't make this one a living hell or try to take me with you, you selfish prick, 'cause I'm here having a fine time now.

That being said, I often wish there were a few less people who know what a fine time a Mudcat show can be. Degenerates SW, SVA and myself had to huddle in the corner by the entrance to the men's room just to find a place to stand. Eventually my two companions got tired of the high-traffic spot and headed up the street to find a quiet place to chat. I stayed behind, wrangling a seat at the bar. There, I could relax and just listen to the groove the diverse group on stage cranked out, letting my mind wander my imaginary Mississippi delta where this sound was born, down river to New Orleans long before Katrina tried to wash the town away.

The next night found us at The Earl where Brodie Stove was on stage doing some interesting stuff, reminding me a bit of Tom Waits in the storytelling aspect and addition of non-traditional rock and roll instrumentation.

For one tune the sax player put down the horn and picked up some cowbells and a triangle, reminding me of one of my favorite 80's acts, Wall of Voodoo. For other tunes, the banjo player switched to accordion. The songs ranged from quiet to intense and I enjoyed it, but I have a hard time putting adjectives in place to describe it. I probably should've gotten a CD so I could hear it again, and write a better review.

Speaking of interesting instrumentation, Hope for a Golden Summer set up, minus the cellist who was off in Disneyland.

The picture above was from later in the show, but it works well with the "interesting instruments" theme, including xylophone and saw. Their poetic lyrics backed by haunting sounds make them one of my favorite bands. Unfortunately, not everyone seemed as interested. There were a few people sitting on the floor right in front of the stage, surrounded by a row of people standing and leaning in to listen - leaning in because everyone behind us was chattering away. What the hell? I didn't pay $7 to hear you talk! It was a lovely day, so I think everyone just wanted to get out and about and didn't really care what was on. The front room was jammed, so the back room took the overflow of people willing to fork over $7 just to drink and talk. I kept hoping the sound guy would crank up the volume to the point where conversation was difficult at best.

But Page and Claire Campbell are almost charming enough just to watch, and standing right in front of the speakers I was almost able to hear over the noise in the room. Page's crooked smile and Claire's obvious enjoyment of the music is contagious.

They did one song with only patti-cake clapping and stomping as accompaniment.

They're working on a new CD, but need folks to pre-order it so they can afford to finish it. Check out their cute site at www.hopeforagoldensummer.com for more.

Last up, Hot Young Priest, making the triple bill a very eclectic and interesting lineup. Hot Young Priest are on the opposite end of the sound spectrum from the other two bands, providing the simple, energetic electric guitar-driven rock.

I like this particular shot 'cause it looks like Mary is on fire, which she was, but only metaphorically.

They took a short break then returned for a short encore, wrapping the show up relatively early for a Saturday night three-band show.

Hot Young Priest have a nifty site of their own at www.hotyoungpriest.com (though they need to update their links to Degenerate Press 'cause I've moved some stuff around.)


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