Categories
Event Reviews

The Wildbirds

The Wildbirds

No Circus, Jupiter One, Buffalo Gun

The Social, Orlando, Fl • Sept. 23, 2007

The last time The Wildbirds hit Orlando was just two months ago, and they were opening for (or blowing away I could say) Jesse Malin. Little has changed in the realm of the Wisconsin band’s popularity in that thime, but the impression the boys made on The Social must have been vast enough because this time around the guys have gotten top billing.

Buffalo Gun

Jen Cray
Buffalo Gun

Honestly, the venue was not crowded by any stretch of the imagination, but those of us in attendance got the complete attention of four amazing bands, beginning with Oviedo’s Buffalo Gun.

The nod to the world of Southern 70’s got its evening kickoff with this young, local band of classic rock fans. The foursome had a pair of ladies giving backing vocals- which was a nice touch- and a lead guitarist/vocalist who brought the heaviness into the air of the club. Bradd Shapiro is a man to watch, a guitarist with the blues rock battalion under his belt and a voice to match.

Offering a taste of new wave in the midst of all things rock was NYC’s Jupiter One. These guys (and gal) were five in total, yet between them they handled at least seven instruments- including violin and flute.

Jupiter one

Jen Cray
Jupiter one

Band geeks with good musical tastes assemble and form damn fine band. That’s the Jupiter One headline. Read it, know it, remember it, because their tunes are every bit as catchy as anything The Killers have done but without the pretense. Frontman (vocalist/guitarist/violinist) K Ishibashi has a Police-era (which is now again, I suppose) Sting voice which adds volumes to this band’s already illustrious sound.

No Circus

Jen Cray
No Circus

If Jupiter One were good, No Circus were offensive in their skills. The trio is from my personal hometown of Deland, Florida (a small town known as much for making the redneck sport of muddin’ popular as it is for being just 20 minutes from the tourist trap of Daytona Beach), and they are unapologetically obsessed with classic rock a la Led Zeppelin, Free and Jimi Hendrix. Their take on these rock gods is sincere and their talents on their instruments proficient, but what really blows my mind about this band is their ages. These guys are 16 and 17 years old!

The singer/guitarist, James Killgallon, oozes sex appeal far beyond his years (which is kinda creepy) and he handles his axe like an old pro. It’s ridiculous how good this kid is! Just take one listen to “One of These Days” and you’ll be sold on this band forever, like I was! Their mind blowing 5-song EP can only be purchased from them directly, as a label has yet to scoop this guys up, so contact them at nocircus@bellsouth.net.

The Wildbirds

Jen Cray
The Wildbirds

With such a hefty powerhouse of opening acts, it’s no wonder that The Wildbirds seemed a slight distracted- maybe even a bit intimidated. When last they played they exuded confidence and rockstar cockiness (which was amusing considering what sweethearts they all turned out to be), but this time around they seemed to hold back a bit, esspecially frontman Nicholas Stuart. Why such a tight band with such a solid setlist of songs should have felt anything but determined in their ability to rule, I don’t know, but it sort of adds to their charm. It makes them a bit underdog-ish.

Regardless of how they themselves feel that they played, I thought they sounded great. The set was short, at just 30 minutes, but they still managed to blow through “421,” and “Shake Shake,” a fine exemplary pair of pure rock ‘n’ roll tunes.

I love these guys, and the fact that they appeared to be a bit nervous about following up after a group of kids is just adorable to me. Rest assured, Wildbirds, you’re still the kings of southern-inspired rock and soul.

To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.

www.thewildbirds.com

Categories
Event Reviews

Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton Heat- Jim Heath

Jen Cray
Reverend Horton Heat- Jim Heath

Reverend Horton Heat

Horrorpops

Orlando, Fl • Sept. 23, 2006

Rockabilly veterans Reverend Horton Heat tend to come to town about once a year- and always with a kick-ass opening act. Yet every year something comes up and I’m not able to make the show. This time around I planned ahead and made sure I could finally lay witness to the Rev. And the kick-ass openers for 2006? The Horrorpops!

“Have any of you ever seen Horrorpops before?” asks vocalist/upright bassist Patricia Day. “So there are a lot of virigins out there. Well, just sit back, relax,and this won’t hurt a bit.”

Horrorpops

Jen Cray
Horrorpops

Psychobilly/Pop/Punk (even a touch of ska) ensues and once again the Denmark band has the audience at their mercy. For those unfamiliar with the magic that is Horrorpops, let me paint you a picture: Patricia is a tattooed Bride of Frankenstein- only sexier, her hubby Kim Nekroman (of Nekromantix) plays guitar along with former AFI/Tiger Army member Geoff Kresge. Drummer Niedermeier brings up the back, and two psycho-fied go-go dancers flank either side of the stage. Now doesn’t that sound like a good time?

Horrorpops- Patricia Day

Jen Cray
Horrorpops- Patricia Day

The audience, even the virgins, are singing and dancing by the third song and party has begun. They shoot through a set that includes “Miss Take,” “Freaks In Uniforms,” and- my favorite- “Walk Like a Zombie.”

The Rev. (Mr. Jim Heath) has a Dick Dale quality about him that stands out as he closes his eyes during long instrumental breaks, with the guitar leading the music along. His red and grey old country jacket and hillbilly vocals evoke images of Johnny Cash (whose classics were the preshow music, by the way), and his thin smile seems to say, “I’ve seen it all.” The man, and the band, have been doing it for 15 years and have built a cult following over that time that rivals The Cramps.

The band is still touring behing their most current release (not including their Christmas album released last year!), Revival, but they toss in a few old favorites to keep the masses smiling. A RHH show is a party- one of those shows where half the people there are watching the band, and the other half are mingling with old friends and nodding their head to the music that plays in the background. The booze flows, the mood is high, and the Rev. seems to be loving it all!

Reverend Horton Heat

Jen Cray
Reverend Horton Heat

To see more photos of this and other shows, go to www.jencray.com

www.reverendhortonheat.com www.horrorpops.com

Categories
Event Reviews

Pennywise

Pennywise

H2O, Death By Stereo, A Wilhelm Scream

Orlando, FL • Sept. 23, 2005

For over 15 years, California’s skate punk heroes, Pennywise have been cultivating a loyal following that continuously turn out in large numbers to sell out their shows. The hungry crowds transform venues like Orlando’s House of Blues into one large 2,000 person pit. If getting soaked with strangers’ sweat, beer, and blood isn’t your thing you might want to find a spot in the back to take cover. Me? I’m at the foot of the stage, with the security guards, getting splashed with god-knows-what with every violent guitar chord. all for the masochistic pleasure of photographing the show.

Death By Stereo

Jen Cray
Death By Stereo

Boston’s A Wilhelm Scream kicked off the evening with some average post-hardcore screamo, and So. Cal hardcore/metal hybrid band Death By Stereo took the anticipation of the large crowd and kicked it up another level. It was the ten-year veteran NYC hardcore act, H2O, that really pushed the evening’s festivities into high gear. As if their high speed guitar thrashing wasn’t enough to pump up the audience, their short but potent political rant about our current government’s preoccupation with the situation overseas rather than our own natural disaster in New Orleans achieved an inspired response from the folks in the pit as well as the balcony. Ending their set with “Family Tree” the crowd sang along with the chorus “Roots! Don’t forget your roots!” Had the night ended right then, I would have still gone home happy.

H2O

Jen Cray
H2O

By the time Pennywise invaded the stage, the crowd was shoulder to shoulder and mostly male. A cloud of testosterone hung over the massive floor-spanning pit causing those inside to dance on the edge of violence. Blood was spilled, the wooden floor was drenched with bodily fluids of all kinds, and I got smacked with a beer bottle while shooting. Amazingly, amongst the chaos, I saw a kid who couldn’t have been more than 12 repeatedly crowd surfing this mass. What were you doing at age 12? Even vocalist Jim Lindberg commented on the number of young faces he’s been seeing at punk shows.

Pennywise

Jen Cray
Pennywise

The band mixed in old favorites like “Homesick” with songs off their latest relase The Fuse. They even attempted to give a brief history lesson in Punk Rock 101 to the new kids on the scene by doing a cover of one of the forefathers of punk: “Do you wanna hear Black Flag? Minor Threat? The Ramones? The Misfits?” Minor Threat won out, and walls seemed to shake as the energy of hardcore’s past collided with the present.

Pennywise and crowd

Jen Cray
Pennywise and crowd

It was a hardcore show worthy of the title, and Pennywise lived up to their reputation for laying down a memorable performance.

Pennywise: www.pennywisdom.com