Monday, January 18, 2010

first-person: American Aquarium/Annuals/Lonnie Walker

American Aquarium/Annuals/Lonnie Walker/Mac Leapheart
January 14, 2009
The Soapbox
Wilmington, NC

We carried our coffee mugs close to our chests, and the money collector/hand-stamper said nothing. We got balloon stamps. Week prior at the Soapbox, it was cold, cold, cold, hence the coffee. Up the stairs and Mac Leapheart is playing, something like Skynyrd-lite South songs that I didn’t really care for, something about a “Confederate Rose,” nice guy though, he said he had some “Creedence” cd’s mixed in with his band’s cds, though maybe he said Creed. Not sure.

We stood next to a couple of guitar cases that said “LW” in bright green tape, and we knew what that meant. Once the skinny guys in the funny beanie hats started reaching for those, the crowd knew what that meant too, as they all came in close, or came in from smoking downstairs or were just drawn to the aura, I’m not sure, all of those things probably. And in preparation for the Lonnie Walker heat that was to come, we shed our jackets.

(Lonnie Walker!)

Reached in my pocket for the Food Lion receipt from earlier that day, where I bought yellow bananas for $1.50 and something called “Auto Dish Gel” for $3.99 and a sales associate named France rang me up.

Totally forgot the first song by Lonnie Walker, maybe it was “Crochet”--I think it was that slow, but I could be mistaken because the songs by Lonnie Walker morphed from friendly alt-country-indie rock into an unfathomable force. All the boho kids in buffalo plaid were paying attention now, a curly-haired kid snapped lots and lots of pictures. Two short people moved up to the front.

The next song was “Summertime,” when lead vocalist Brian Corrum turns on the ahem, charm, I guess with subtle shoulder bops and squeamish mouth movements to match the curious straight-ahead rhythm, if Johnny Cash had only found distortion earlier--this is what it would be.

The 80s clothes reference, the sunblock reference this killer line--
“...have a second chance at life,I do the exact same things, because I like to do things twice”--the grooming, the wild full-band chant--this is now my favorite Lonnie Walker song.

My wife thought Brian looked weird up there with his “tongue fasciculations”---LOOK IT UP, SHE’S A SPEECH THERAPIST, SO DON’T FRONT. The ending hoe-down parts and the bouncy bare percussion at the end, with Corrum’s creaky voice, it coalesced well.

Next “Grapejuice” then “Back Home Inside of You.” With its folky-humility into the shoegaze-surf-power riff, this is where they made jump for me--where I realized that Lonnie Walker could do anything they pleased, I doubt any form of rock is hard for them, from indie rock, to folk ballads, to classic country.

The crowd was getting a bit jumpy now, so a goateed boho dreamster (complete with fingerless gloves and neck kerchief as if it was 2007) decided to jump around a little bit, making sure his Hot Topic gloves didn’t come off. A bounce here, another bounce there and the Goatee got 5 people going, which seems to be all Corrum wanted.

Grabbed the coffee mugs and took them out to the car and there was the American Aquarium van. SNAP!

(The Annuals!)

An inspired performance from Annuals, especially bassist Mike Robinson (never seen a bass player that into it) but their blend of U2/Santana doesn’t really interest me. After reading this story, sympathy yes. They know their instruments, they try crazy hard, they’ve had moderate success, but they saved their two best songs until the end--one of them was “Hot Night Hounds”--it popped with some dark lights and some nice percussion, their percussion is great. Give me some more songs like “Talking,” a light punk groove to throw the weight behind. It’s as if they’re trying too hard. Maybe the new EP will sing, sing, sing--hopefully it does.

(American Aquarium!)

Now it’s getting late on a work night and B.J. Barham and American Aquarium emerged from the Annuals’ dense soundscape with just straight-ahead heartbreak rock, raw, raw, like screws in a garbage disposal, you know Lucero, but I’d like Barham to sing Rites of Springs covers because he’s nail them. We’re old, so we had to head soon, but I’m glad I heard “Katherine Belle” and “Ain’t Going to the Bar Tonight,” those are strong.

We left and tried to rub the balloon stamp off of our hands but we couldn't do it.

1 comment:

  1. Skynard Lite?
    You could have done better than that...
    Waylon lite?
    How about Bellamy Brothers Heavy?


Related Posts with Thumbnails