At the beginning of this year I needed to sit down and take a good long think on whether I feel like writing about music anymore. I had to spend some time evaluating how much I care in the current socio-political environment about who rocks how hard and by which degrees.
We elected a gila monster in a badly tailored suit and now live in a world where Nazis stroll unmolested through our streets. Them bad Russians might, for all we know, actually be the king high men in charge of our missiles now. We’ve got public officials openly speaking of deploying the National Guard to round up and deport the folks who pick our fruits and vegetables — we’re all very likely gonna end up dead of malnutrition while ill tended fields fall to rot and pestilence. In light of our impending doom as a nation, how much sense does it make to spend any brain power at all contemplating music?
Don’t we have better shit to do on a Saturday night than mass around some dive spot to heave ho and thrash along with beats and shredd? Are we failing the resistance if we stop to have fun?
I really don’t know.
But maybe something of an answer appeared in my inbox last weekend — In the form of a notification on a show at Charlie’s Riverview: “Bee Kind’s Going Away Party + ACLU benefit show.”
I stared at the invite for a bit, and when the time came — decided to shake off the depression and mosey over to see what was what.
Who is Bee Kind? And why should we care?
I really meant to meet Bee Kind, aka Kendall Chandler, and find out more about her. But then I started drinking early when I got to the show and shit got fuzzy. My understanding is that she’s a super sweet and talented local artist who is apparently heading to China to teach English. I’m sure there’s a fascinating story involved, but this intrepid music writer was more interested in Jack Daniels and the ACLU connection, so I failed to get the full 411.
Totally my bad. Sorry about that.
Everyone there seemed to love her, and we hope that she comes back one day to tell tales of her Asian land mass adventure.
What did all this have to do with the ACLU?
Basically, right now — the American Civil Liberties Union is like the Rebel Alliance at Yavin IV while the Death Star creeps up on em. What does the ACLU do, exactly, do you ask?
The ACLU is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization which functions under a stated mission to defend and preserve rights and liberties guaranteed to everyone in our country by the Constitution. The shorthand description is that they sue the fuck out of the government when they see it acting like Darth Vader. Just as important is the legal assistance it provides activists and protesters when they fall afoul of local governments in the course of exercising civil disobedience. More often than not these resisters are impoverished, and without said legal aid would be cut down faster than Porkins’ X-Wing on a trench run.
That explained, these efforts require money. The organization is largely funded through membership dues, contributions, and outside donations. I’m proud that local impresarios Tyler Warnalis, Benjamin Briggs, and Andrew Briggs identified a need here and acted through their promotions company, TBA Productions, to raise moolah for the cause. In the final accounting, they collected about $500 that is all going directly to the ACLU.
Kudos to all involved — this is the kind of work that makes a local music scene vital, and it perks me up to see young cats intertwine their fun with serious business.
Frozen Windows is the latest of a series of incestuous pairings between the finer musicians our area has to offer, this time comprising members of DJP & Mr T and Reptile Tile. This was only their second show in this particular incarnation, and it looked to me that they mostly decided to play because they had had their first show the night before, and the equipment was still in their cars.
Musically, Frozen Window is an entirely instrumental synth affair. Heavy on midi syncs and sequence triggers that ultimately compose a dense fog of electronica that’s a bit more sombre than the offerings our heroes tend to throw around in their home base bands. Moody and ambient, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the combination.
It remains to be seen if this will be an ongoing effort, but I’d be pleased to hear more.
Doctor Collins | Bandcamp
Hailing from out of RVA, Doctor Collins bills itself as Psychedelic Rock. To my ear they come off more along the lines of something like a less melodic, less harmony infused Weezer crossed with shades of Bauhaus. Which sounds like an odd combination until you actually hear it. You wouldn’t think it works, but it does.
It took me a bit to warm up to their sound, but by the end of the set I was digging it. For whatever reason, I felt like there could have been a bit more energy on the stage movement-wise. It seemed like they were consistently on the verge of full out rock freneticism, but couldn’t quite step over the line.
There are rumors of a collaboration between Pete Curry’s Crystal Pistol Records, which has just issued a Doctor Collins album titled “Cowboys and Synthesizers” and Norfolk’s Leather Daddy Bubblebath in the form of a spring showcase, so I imagine we’ll have the opportunity to hear these guys again soon enough.
I think they’re full on worth checking out.
Shake Your Baby | Reverberation
Stepping off a two year hiatus, Shake Your Baby reformed for this show and were easily the highlight of the evening. This old school Punk Rock band is firmly in the oeuvre of a Bad Religion or Propaganda vibe. I found them fun, literate, and an all around good time.
They dropped off the scene awhile back, more likely due to the slings and arrows of day jobs and life events then anything else. I recall them being well-liked around here, and I’m excited to see them kick things back into gear.
Speaking with the bandleader it appears that they’re planning new shows. I think they’ll be a welcome re-addition to the local scene, and I’d love to see them kick out a show with Mas Y Mas and some other hometown Punk stalwarts.
It’s somewhat invigorating to see some older dudes pick up the reins of what they love most. You know, a whole Tennyson “Though-we-are-not-now-what-once-were” kind of thing. I fully expect to see a new album from these guys, and wholly look forward to hearing it.
. . .
So that’s it. A good time was had, with good money being raised for a good cause. Maybe you **can** fight the power and at the same time enjoy yourself.
Equal parts viva la Resistance and viva rocking-the-fuck out.
Well done to all involved.
Let’s see some more of this kind of thing, eh?