“What about the Dirty Guv’nahs?” you might be asking. It was, after all, their CD release party. Honestly, it’s just too much to write it all in one blog post, so I’ve broken it up. I took 283 photographs Friday night and I worked them down to 88, which is still too many for two posts, let alone two. By the time I cut them down the division came to roughly half Guv’nahs and half others, so today you get the others. And the others cranked it out pretty well, I must say.
The Black Cadillacs always rock the house and they did not disappoint Friday. Urban Daughter and I staked out a place by the front barricade (which should have been secured, by the way) around 5:00. While she held the spot I grabbed sandwiches from Tomato Head. It felt like old times when the two of us rushed to Sundown in the City after school and work. I feared 5:00 would be too late to secure our prime spot, but I needn’t have worried: the crowd arrived fashionably late.
Will Horton, the charismatic lead vocalist spins, dances, screams and bangs his tambourine whipping the band and the crowd into a frenzy. Their new songs, released earlier this summer, stand up well to their older material as they pursue the edges of grunge-rock. The sound increasingly veers more in the direction of the White Stripes or the Black Keys, though the element of southern, whiskey-soaked rock and roll remains a presence in everything they do.
I particularly enjoyed the keyboard player and found myself trying to remember if he’d been with them when I’ve seen them before. If so, he stood out more Friday night than he has in the past. The lead guitarist seemed to have been placed higher in the mix and took more leads, which seemed, to me, a good thing. I’m still wondering if the addition of a great multi-instrumentalist wouldn’t push the band to new heights. In any case, I always enjoy them. This, children, is real rock and roll.
Moon Taxi presented a very different kind of music. It’s interesting they continue to be chosen to open for the Dirty Guv’nahs (this is the second time I’ve seen them open for the Guv’nahs). Their music leans more toward alternative with a generous amount of pop sensibility thrown in. They have more hooks than a good boxer and the lead singer is about as cute and charming on stage as any I’ve seen. I took a million pictures of him and liked about 500 thousand of them.
A large segment of the crowd appeared to have come from Nashville to hear them. I wondered if the bill would be reversed in Nashville, but I don’t really have a way to gauge their popularity there, other than what I saw on the square Friday night. What I saw included a flag waving drunken fan who nearly creamed me with his flag pole all night. Very cool. I talked to several nearby fans who loved Moon Taxi and thought the Guv’s were OK. Massive numbers of fans knew large amounts of lyrics and belted them out with gusto. Continually slamming me from all sides, we had us a time in front of the stage.
The skies threatened rain, but only a few sprinkles fell during the first two artists. The crowd I would estimate at a couple of thousand scattered about for the Black Cadillacs swelled to (I’m guessing) five or six thousand by the time Moon Taxi took the stage. Crowds covered the square from the stage as far back as I could see, though I didn’t dare leave my spot to really take a good look at it.
By the end of Moon Taxi’s set I found myself wondering if they don’t have a better shot at the very top of the music business than the Guv’nahs, which may be a crazy thing to consider in a week when the Guv’s found their new album in the top forty on itunes. Still, I wonder if Moon Taxi may be more radio-friendly on a larger scale. My preference will always be for a grittier sound, but my tastes have never really lined up with commercial radio. On the other hand, is there even such a thing as the “top of the music business” anymore? What does that even look like? Taylor Swift?
Two other minor notes from Moon Taxi: the drummer looks amazingly like Sean Lennon (look in the background of the photos above when he has his glasses on) and thanks go out to Urban Daughter for that observation. Also, Trevor Terndrup, the photogenic lead vocalist has a pretty cool tattoo on his arm that says, “Loves Music, Loves Life” in Spanish. I’m not big on tattoos for myself, but that’s about as good a motto as I can imagine.
So, after that portion of the show, I remain a big fan of the Black Cadillacs and have a new-found interest in Moon Taxi. They’ve got the talent, charm and hooks, so it will be interesting to see what comes of it. They remind me of Beatlesque Pop, maybe by way of Blind Melon to site something more recent. Sorry for those of you who expected Guv’s pictures today, but I promise to overwhelm you with tons of them in the next post.