So, yeah. Played a pretty decent first Distant Trains set to open up the show on a pretty typically sparsely-attended Wednesday night at the Mews. Went over better than I expected. Todd On Acid is definitely a character. S.E.R.F.’s set was a drunken, technically-plagued mess, but a cool sweeaty rock and roll mess, though I’m not sure they themselves appreciated it as such. Part of rock and roll is playing your songs right, but part of rock and roll is also getting a raucous party vibe going, and they definitely succeeded on the latter. Even when they’re off playing-wise, they’re still a really fun bunch of guys to have up on stage, and I think folks really enjoyed it.
The headliner and definite highlight was The Bassturd. I think he’s always had this show-business-parody angle to what he does, but a lot about his show has tightened up to the point of downright professional, his timing seamless, his array of lighting gadgets, a mix of christmas lights and various Spencer’s Gifts/truck-stop-souvenier material, has gotten impressive enough that he did his set with no stage lighting whatsoever, playing keyboard entirely by touch. Hits such as “Fucking U Down” (with amplified accordion, of course), “Dirty Dirty South,” and “Bling Ballz” were in the set along with Devo covers from his tribute CD The Important Sound Of Things Falling Apart. The audience was mostly established fans very familiar with his material, and he was successfully goaded into doing a bit of “David Geffen Is A Pedophile.” Dan was totally on and in his element, and it was a joy to see him play such a solid show and to hang out with him.
Last night’s show came about as the birthday wish of Kim Hutchison, noted artist and wife of Why Make Clocks frontman Dan Hutchison, that he reunite two of his old bands, the goofball punk of Going To Grandma’s and the bloody-minded prog-punk of Fetal Pig, both featuring brother Jeff Hutchison, and the former also including Jeff’s Blutiger Fluss bandmate Jim Duede. Neither band came with their original bassplayers, however; yours truly did the job for Fetal Pig, opening the evening, easily among the most challenging sets of music I’ve learned and played in my life, and following a second set of no-nonsense rock and roll from Squidboy, Why Make Clocks drummer Will Tarbox took up the bass guitar for Going To Grandma’s, his first performance ever on the instrument. I’d expected GTG to be a fun band, what I hadn’t expected was that they would also be so good. Well written songs with lots of vocal interplay and sing-along choruses.
It’s been intense, playing new and old material for the first time. All humid weather and good times with good people. A lot of folks at last night’s gig seem to think we should play these tunes more often. I’m up for it.