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The Moaners, The Forty Fives
The Earl
September 2005

We were out on a work night celebrating JH & LH's anniversary, really just an excuse to see the Forty Fives, at the Earl. I hadn't heard of opening act The Moaners and wasn't in a hurry to slip into the back room until degenerate CR mentioned they had the lead singer from Trailer Bride, one of my favorite bands, so as soon as I saw them step up on stage on the monitor in the front room I headed back.

Melissa has an interesting voice, sleepy and vulnerable with a southern twang that works well with her (sometimes crude) jangly guitar. CR wandered in and bemoaned the two-piece setup, "I hate bass-less indie rock." But a few tunes into it he had to compliment drummer Laura King.

They have sort of a minimalist Zeppelin sound with sliding, blues-based guitar backed by pounding drums. Melissa doesn't have Page's guitar wizardry but the melodies are fine and her voice sucks me in. (And it doesn't hurt that they're both cute in a quirky, interesting way.)

I stepped into the can at one point where the walls muffled the guitar and vocals but the drums came through, making me shake my head. That woman can play.

She also played guitar and drums simultaneously for a tune. I picked up their CD and enjoyed it even the day after the show when I'd just heard all the songs.

They're online at

After a break the Forty Fives came on. I've reviewed them so many times I'm hesitant to say anything. They're so consistent my review would be redundant. But for a moment I'll assume you haven't been reading Degenerate Press for the last 5 years. The Forty Fives do 60's Cavern Club era garage rock, solid R&B based, slightly fuzzy stuff that should be all over the airwaves. Fortunately for us locals, they are undiscovered so on a Thursday night like this you can catch them for a few bucks playing to a half-empty room.

As usual, they came on with all stops already pulled.

I was impressed with the energy level they were able to pump out for a less than capacity crowd.

Not only are they one of my favorite bands to see and hear, they're a lot of fun to photograph thanks to the non-stop bobbing and weaving of most of the members.

The weirdest photo of the night, thanks to a little less flash than was actually needed. Ghostly, eh?

We couldn't stick around for The Fleshtones due to work early the next morning and a weekend full of party plans, most of which we also missed. JH & LH followed Thursday with King Johnson at Northside, then joined us at the DP HQ for games and intoxicants on Saturday - in addition to working on a farm all weekend. Crap, it was all I could do to get the house ready for guests. I didn't even make it to the big New Orleans benefit show/party in L5P on Sunday. I am getting old...

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