75 & 55

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I started off the Blowout, as is my custom by rolling off 75 at exit 55 and hitting Paycheck’s. It’s closest to the freeway, the parking’s reliable, the attitude is pure Hamtown and, on this night, Last Tourist was playing the 9:20 p.m. slot. Win-win-win, as they say in the business.

So, to be honest, the last time I saw Last Tourist was at last year’s Blowout -- and the damndest thing is that they’ve gotten a metric crap-ton better in a year of practicing and playing (go figure!). The crowd was spare when I arrived, but the dudes ‘n’ ladies poured, in crowding out the front of the joint nearest the stage. I think I might have spotted a Wonder Twin or two, a bag-headed blogger, and another one with a backward baseball cap. And there was a Gorilla onstage. That all of this magic happened with MT Music Editor Bill Holdship also watching and enjoying the jams should be an example to George Mitchell.

Here’s the thing: Last Tourist knows that the fuck they’re doing. All the evidence one needed came in the form of “Up In Spades,” their second jam. All Wilco space-roots and intricate-build, the music lifted frontman Matt Peabody’s vocals up and out and above and over and out. Just passionate stuff. The pop jangled, the band of dudes made magic, and the crowd was alternately enthralled/loaded and playing with their iPhones ostentatiously.

Is it fair to critique that a blog that pretends to be a band, and yet still performs as a band, referencing other local music blogs as though they were anything other than an inside joke? Sure. Why not? So I got to Kelly’s Bar, only to find Jesus Chainsaw Massacre’s choir-robed frontman Bryan Metro don a bag a la Jasper Webvomit and then...um, sing over a crappy sub-Suicide soundbed played by bored dudes who looked like they didn’t mind not minding that they should mind not being somewhere else. Then, Metro called up a dude from the audience, gave the dude a mirror, and went into an “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets that hose again,” Silence of the Lambs routine, wherein he made himself up and danced in a Jame Gumb-ish way. Transgressive? Not by a long shot. An entertaining distraction from the content-less void, otherwise? Sure. (Although, it was pretty rad when a pretty blonde lady at the JCM show, sitting at the bar, was digging away at a bugger with unabashed fervor. That and the belligerent Kelly’s regulars kinda sums up the fan response, I guess. If you’re going to show cheek, go whole-ass. But this set was half-ass. (Later, that same lady would be seen getting mock spanked to the beat of one of Deastro’s tunes by her male accompaniment. So, maybe JCM and Deastro have something in common, after all!)

Rue Moor Counts had their own Bez – a dude dedicated to simply playing tambourine, but homeboy didn’t act as a hype man. That tambourine shaking earned his entré to the rock world, dammit! The lead dude shredded on the guitar= – just killed it, giving a rad sheen of radness to the psych –out rave ups in which they fully engaged. What Daniel Johnson said in this blog about Deastro is absolutely true. Check his post. Essential reading. I won’t add a thing except that Randy Chabot was chucking toys into the audience and apparently some of them were clay animal figurines that were quite heavy and he was warning people in a really touching way. Meanwhile, in the lounge, the detailed, exacting and pointed machinations of Zoos of Berlin turned into a full-on wash of distortion and scrunge. Damn. But that didn’t stop the kids from hanging out. And that’s the thing about the Blowout.

I’ve seen Zoos with awesome sound (and Deastro, for that matter, too) so I rolled the dice and headed over to Baker’s Streetcar where Beard of Bees seemed genuinely shocked that anyone was there at all, what with the cross-town competition. But the place got kinda full-ish and those in attendance were rewarded with a fully-functioning sonic freakout from Brandon White and company. Homeboy dedicated a song to Pope John Paul, sang one about DB Cooper and whirled and grinned and axe-mangled his way into the punks, old people, cute kids and crusties mustered. In my mind, even the drums were processed through a fuzz pedal, but that can’t be true. Maybe I was just fuzzy-headed generally at this point. But the indie-psyche-rawk-punk-whatevs brew was heady, indeed. Weekend ahoy!

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