Third Man Records presents Audio Social Dissent Tour
with Timmy’s Organism, Video, Regression 696
The Social; Orlando, FL • February 13, 2016
by Jen Cray
We all have those bands we got into because someone we know, with impeccable taste, shared the secret of their existence to us with those three tantalizing words, “Check ’em out!” Think of the crew at Third Man Records as that someone. If those cool cats — and, by extension, label Founder Jack White — have given the band their stamp of approval, chances are that band is worth listening to, or — in this case — in seeing.
The Audio Social Dissent Tour is the first time Third Man has put together a showcase-style tour and, though their label is a varied smorgasbord of musical genres, the sound they’ve chosen for this inaggural trek is scraped off the garage floor punk, Gunk Rock, let’s call it. Timmy’s Organism, Video, and — on these first few dates of the tour — Regression 696 don’t care that it’s the night before Valentine’s Day, they don’t care if you’ve noticed yet that they walked out onto the stage and are starting to play, you get the sense that they probably wouldn’t care if anyone had even shown up at all. These bands play because, like a festering splinter that must be plucked out, they have to get it out before it eats them alive. By the time they’re finished, there should be blood left on the stage.
Regression 696 open up the room to ambient noise that doesn’t have much of melody or a beat, but what it lacks in traditional structure it makes up for in mood. Nate Young, all sunglasses and attitude, diddles around on a strange synthesizer-like apparatus that looks like a circuit board kit with a million wires, and throws out occasional vocals that are buried beneath sound effects. Next to him, guitarist Crazy Jim Baljo shreds and distorts within and around the sounds Young makes. These two are 2/3 of the trip metal outfit Wolf Eyes, who will be joining the bill for the second half of the tour.
More accessible, but only if you dig cocksure, confrontational hate wave punk (and I do!), was Video. The Austin, Texas band is led by the black leather clad intensity of Daniel Fried, who is a dream frontman — the kind with bravado, with gumby body contortions, and with an unquestionable presence. He struts angrily while shouting to the fans at his feet “You don’t deserve us! You don’t deserve to be witnessing the greatest band in the business! The greatest singer! The greatest songwriter!….” It’s theater, punk rock style, and it’s backed by highly volatile music that gets the blood bubbling.
Also volatile — the power that comes out of Detroit’s Timmy Vulgar when he’s onstage with his latest installment of psychedelic punk, Timmy’s Organism. He casts an imtimidating shadow — with his bare top scalp and long hair, and mutton chop sideburns — though his personality onstage seems to hint that he may just be a teddy bear disguised as a grizzly. He goofs around, he tells a short story about why he loves Florida (hint: first blow job), he graciously accepts shots from audience members, and he treats the fans like they’re part of the show. For the encore (Can you call it an encore when you never even leave the stage? Sure!) he points a mike stand into the crowd and advises “make some weird noises.”
The tour may warn about the auditory discord of its sound, but it is pure, unfiltered rock ‘n’ roll with all of the grime and guts that make it worth witnessing. Thank you, Third Man Records, for putting your money where your mouth is and for sending out such a bunch of musical miscreants to entertain us! Keep these tours coming!