The night kicked off with The Roughies. First off, good name. It’s hard as hell to find a good name these days that hasn’t already been taken. Second off, one of my biggest Rock ‘n’ Roll gripes is when a band has a “front man” who seems to be more suited standing in the back somewhere playing the triangle. This is not an issue with these fine fellows. I was greeted by a booming, boisterous voice, being barely contained by a Travis Bickle haircut all wrapped up in a Crockett and Tubbs Miami Vice pastel suit, pointing with the mic stand and cracking wise, the way nature intended. The tunes were of a tight and well played mid-to-quick-tempo punk variety. Every now and then they threw in a rough honky tonk Punk jam, or a 90s style Ska-like upbeat number, sans upstrokes. All and all, good stuff; would recommend.
Up next was the provocatively named Teenage Sex. This trio has been making the scene for a few years now, but the members all hail from Bay bands that reach back for years. This would somewhat explain their sound and songwriting. For the uninitiated, Teenage Sex has a very “90s Mission” feel (Shotwell, Majority Whip, Flophouse… and on and on). This era and sound is very close to my heart, and they capture it very well. By that, I mean mid-tempo heartfelt jams that are sincere, a little dark, a little light, with a splash of rough around the edges. It’s Indie Punk before anybody knew what that was. They remind me of a beat up, slightly out of control Plymouth Fury on a winding road that comes perilously close to disaster, up on two wheels sometimes, but always manages to swing back on course at the last second. One mismatched front fender, tires slightly under inflated, but it’s still a Fury… solid, V8, bad to the bone. Do yourself a favor, catch these folks on the next go-round.
Solid, hard-working scene fave The Rinds was celebrating the release of their new record Ain’t Comatose. While they’re definitely a Ramones-core band, they are unlike some of their less creative contemporaries. Their songwriting delves deeper than the usual “Blitzkrieg Bop” style surface blasters. The lead vocal duties are split three ways and provide welcome diversity in song style and tempo. It also allows for rapid fire, one-right-after another song delivery without much rest in between. They stop just long enough to squeeze in a “This song is called…” or a blurry “1,2,3,4!!!” Boy howdy are The Rinds good at that…a little too good.
They were banging through songs so fast, in fact, that the crowd had to stop them and remind them to talk about the record they were supposed to be trying to sell that night. That’s okay with me though. That’s some quality bang-for-buck Rock ‘n’ Roll for ya there, and that’s alright. The Rinds must practice a lot; they are solid, but can also PLAY. By that I mean, they move, and have fun. They’re consummate pros, never bored or confused about what to do next. It’s go go go, and I’ll always be down for that.
Last but certainly not least was Jesus and the Dinosaurs. This trio from Fairfield, CA was a total blast. They’re more of a heavier duty Garage Punk vibe, Jesus and the Dinosaurs was hot-rockin’ and super fun to watch. Some bands are perfect package deal: look, sound, stage jams and these gents had that in spades. The singer/guitarist has a mass of long black hair covering his whole face which bopped around with his head as he plunked away at his overdriven Fender Jazzmaster and yowled their particular brand of Punk ‘n’ Roll. The drummer is of a slightly smaller stature, but you would never know it from the devasting thrashing he was administering to his ironically oversized drum set. It was inspirational as hell. Finally, the bassist is of the “John Entwistle” variety. He’s tall, with an understated presence until I looked down at his hands thundering away, filling in the gaps, lifting everything up, all the while keeping an anchor chain lifeline attached to the drums. It was the perfect trio situation and deceptively hard to pull off. Go see Jesus and the Dinosaurs!!
All in all it was a great night of Rock ‘n’ Roll and hanging with friends while also making new ones. Lately shows have been on the sparsely attended side, so it was nice to see a bunch of people come out and support some hard working folks striving to make their brand of art. Hats off to Jason and the rest of the staff of the Golden Bull also. They perform a difficult and often thankless job, all in the name of entertaining your ungrateful asses. Tip well, and tell them how much you appreciate their hard work next time you see them. And remember – I know it’s hard sometimes – but go to shows.
Check out the below gallery of the night!