I’ve told the story so many times now I’m sure you’re sick of it. How in the early days of my ongoing misspent youth I would trudge through the snow to talk my way into bars to see live music. I got my first dose of that drug on a cold, awful night up on Westcott Street in a long since forgotten basement bar and ever since then, I’ve been chasing that rock ‘n’ roll dragon wherever it would take me and I sure as hell found that high on Saturday night at the L.R.S. Records Spring Sampler release show at Wunderbar.
The show was, in short, the most exciting, entertaining, and just plain fun rock n roll event I have been to in a long time. Well, not counting the time I spent sheltering at home hiding from a once in a century virus, but I digress.
There wasn’t a band on the bill that missed. Every song was great, every quip from the stage was funny, every band played the way it was meant to be played and every face in the room was smiling.
Kicking off the evening was Deviant Monday the performing name of songwriter David Montanye, although I am seeing he has enlisted some bandmates for future performances. He was the perfect opener. His songs are funny, sardonic, catchy as all hell and perfectly charming. Closing with the perfect sarcastic sing along “Thousandaire” Montanye’s set was over far too quickly. I can’t wait to see what he’s got cooked up next.
Against the Giants was next with their high energy punk pop. Against the Giants throw it down at times like early Replacements but (thankfully) without all the drunken drama. Songs with a laugh in one chord and a snarl in the next, like the absolute ripper “I Won’t Stay” or the essential “Fuck You And All Your Yuppie Friends”. Wrapping their (again) all too short set with a blistering cover of The Pixies “Where is My Mind.”, Against the Giants is the kind of band that should be playing more often and hopefully in some small bar with the windows shaking and the walls getting sweaty. In what would be a theme at this show, the set was over far too early.
Next up was Underwater Bosses playing a set of Surf Rock songs that FINALLY brought the crowd to the dance floor. The Bosses play a style that honors the great players of the past and they do it with perfect reverence and love. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, influences like Dick Dale, Link Wray, The Chantays as well as current keepers of the Surf Rock flame like Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. To close out the set the Bosses brought back Christopher Nolan from Against the Giants to guest on trumpet which brought the house down with a sound that at times harkened back to Morricone with his soundtrack work on the Spaghetti Westerns of the 70’s. Tremendous players.
Closing out the night was Sympathy, If Against the Giants had a taste of early Replacements, then Sympathy has a big chuck of later period Westerbergian pop sensibility running through their rock ‘n’ roll veins. Opening song “Lloyd Dobler”(my favorite) got things going with front man Josh Coy at times even looking a bit like Westerberg as he led the band through a fantastic set including the barn burner “River”. Sympathy plays the kind of rock n roll I naturally gravitate to, loud, fast, smart, heart on the sleeve literate power pop that knows that the secret sauce is sometimes in the backing ooohs, ahhs and la la las.
Sympathy is one of the best bands in this town and I sure hope I get more chances to see them again soon because 40 minutes was just not enough.
I’ve never been one for labels, call it power pop, punk, surf rock, indie, whatever, to me it’s rock ‘n’ roll and a true believer in its power can feel what you can only feel at a show like the one L.R.S Records put on last Saturday. The kind of music that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The kind that gives you a smile and maybe just makes your heart soar. THAT’s what L.R.S. Records showcased last Saturday. I only wish that the crowd has been more than just mostly friends and family because everyone else in town missed one of the best shows in a while and a damn good way to break back into the world after a long layoff. We need more of what L.R.S records is doing.
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