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Vera Fang, Liverhearts, Modey Lemon
The Earl
June 2008

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

Vera Fang sucked so bad the last couple of times I was subjected to them they well could have been my least favorite local act. Yeah, I know you're thinking "But I thought that was and would always be Deerhunter," but no, at least I could tune their bland noise out.
Vera Fang. on the other hand, annoyed me where Deerhunter merely confused me. However, at The Earl I actually enjoyed Vera Fang. Maybe they've improved, or maybe the magic fingers of Curt Wells on the sound board made them 50% more discernable, but whatever it was I no longer hate them. If the lead singer would lay off the heavy echo so that you could understand maybe one or two words here and there I could probably give them a pretty positive review.

And that's saying something. Remember when The Black Lips absolutely sucked? I do. Now they can actually play their instruments and hold a tune. Now they absolutely rock. Vera Fang could almost open for them now, though it's a far less raucous sound.
It's arty but not too pretentious, noisy but not too abstract - not bad, really.


Next up, The Liverhearts. I had seen them before and vaguely remembered liking them, but couldn't really remember them until they got going. They pump out percussive, mechanical rock that reminded me a bit of The Selmanaires, Television, or live Devo.

I really enjoyed their energetic presentation too, for about 12 songs, then suddenly it was tiresome. They don't switch up the sound enough to hold my interest and it's such an intense sound you either need to be interested or need to avoid it.

Fortunately, EM arrived, fresh from REM at Lakewood, giving me an excuse to slip out to the front room for a beverage and socializing. I kept my eye on the closed-circuit TV for the headline act, but even still they had already cranked up before I made it back there. So when I walked back into the auditorium I walked into a wall of ass-kicking rock, courtesy of Modey Lemon.

The first time I saw these guys they were a 2-piece doing dark, odd tunes that kind of reminded me of early Stooges, but with a few effects pedals and effects machines to fatten up the sound. I and several degenerates really enjoyed them and picked up their CD. But then they came to town again after adding a keyboard player and it muddied up what had been a stripped down sound.

However, they've clearly had time to adjust and switch course. "Stoner rock", degenerate CD called it. I had to agree. They've gone from The Stooges to Sabbath - still dark, but noisy and brutal with long jams stuck here and there. I was reminded of Blue Oyster Cult and Deep Purple's finer numbers.

"It bent my skull" said one of the few patrons out front that had seen the show. Which brings me to another point - where the hell was everyone? It wasn't a school night, the weather was fine, two local bands on the bill and one fine act from out of town - what the fuck? I picked up two of Modey Lemon's CD's, as much because I wanted them as because I felt the need to help the guys out with gas money to get on to the next stop, and the sad showing from the crowd wasn't going to do much. Even the waitresses out front were grumbling. Sheesh.

Oh, and those CD's rock, hard. Track down Season of Sweets and/or The Curious City at your local record shoppe or interweb site if you, too, want to rock.

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