Friday, February 29, 2008

Look Ma, All Hands!

The Whigs - The Visulite, Charlotte, NC 2-27-08

Around the time the set reached it’s half way mark Phil leaned over and yelled into my ear, ‘you can feel the push of air coming from the drums.’ Pounding, thrashing and ramming with an onslaught of precision, Julian Dorio and The Whigs bled it all out and then rung it dry this past Wed at the Visulite. It is the best I have ever heard them and the energy they exert, well you just can’t help getting caught up in how good they make rock ‘n roll sound. Big, bad and loud; The Whigs are ruthless.

But the evening didn’t come to fruition with such zeal and raw intensity at launch.

Seated across from Phil at Zada James, one of the better-known breakfast spots and sandwich joints in town, we were dumbfounded at the $20 entrees and the candlelit ambiance did little to set the tempo for the evening at hand. Grubbing down nachos as fast as I could get my paws on them, Phil and our waitress flirted over a few micro-brews. After which we wasted no time settling the tab and packing up the scene to a more suiting atmosphere seeing as ‘ol wide-stance had arrived.(see Flaming Lips at Amos’) Now perched at the bar in NoFo the drinks came easier and the buzz of anticipation began to hum. Also dining are assorted members of Charlotte’s own The Sammies and a couple of Spinto Band cronies. A few laughs, a couple good stories, some new beers in grasp and an intriguing variation on a white Russian. Thanking the barkeep these three wise men made our way to the Visulite.

Taking the fat black stamp to the backside of my hand, Phil used his corporate know how and opted for the underside of the wrist, note taken. Reconvene with familiar faces from the QC and Athens as Spinto Band uber-sockhoped their way through a set of ‘we’re not cliché indie-pop unless you say we’re cliché indie-pop’ noise, to which to retorted ‘you’re cliché indie-pop.’

I had a chance to speak with Julian before they prepped to take the stage and spoke about the tour, the growth in recognition and shamelessly I took credit for the fantastic turnout on a Wed. night in a town that prides itself in not having fun on a work night. We shook hands, I wished him a good show and then plugged another brew into said void finding a spot down front to gain true vantage.
Just before the boys took to hammering away it was noted that there was a sizeable hole in the front of Julian’s kickstand. I assured Parker that this had nothing to do with a load in mishap, but rather a likely run in with a swift kung-fu kick unleashed down on petal. I’m proud to say that reputation was once again upheld and Julian’s playing once again makes me want to break things loudly, leaving the pieces strewn in a confused mess.

A few months back I reviewed an Atlanta show and down played Tim Deaux and his abilities. Perhaps that was just an off night. This time around he might have stolen a healthy portion of the spotlight and deservedly so. Nothing against Hank leaving, but it did alter the feel of the trio and filling an original members shoes is never easy. But now it’s blatantly obvious that Tim has no interest in ‘filling in,’ he’s bringing his own zest and spunk. This works, works pretty damn well I’ll note. Tim flew through the chords and his based was amped up perfectly, he definitely kept the trio’s sound popping.
Mission Control’s taste is crisper, more direct and at times harder than Fat Lip. It’s so good that it has made listening to Lip a little difficult as of late. Curious to see how the full on new material would lend itself to the defining sounds of their humble origins, I was wildly rewarded with a near flawless performance that alluded to no signs in weakness or contradictions in direction of the group’s music.
Parker is unstoppable and gritty per usual. The lyrics are showing tremendous growth and the delivery has all the makings of rock’s true lead man. And there it is. The defining explanation of The Whigs. In an era were it is so hip to be bizarre, confusingly innovative, post-this, pre-that, a variation of this mixed with splattering of Eastern Euro folk music or some such obscurity, The Whigs take grasp and say fuck it! We’re a rock band and we do what rock bands do. WE ROCK YOUR ASS OFF!
That’s an understated attribute and a testament to superior things to come their way. People love to feel empowered, to blow it out, to get caught of up in an unexplained calling of loudness and at their core, people just want to hear a damn good rock ‘n roll band. It’s as American as Willie Nelson drinking a Budweiser, riding the backseat of a Chevy with two bikini clad babes in a Fourth of July Parade, and there’s nothing better than seeing it done with a little southern class.

The crowd eagerly backed the band throughout the night, singing along to songs old and new. Joy abound, the crowd forces the band into an celebratory encore, during which I hear my first Whigs cover, Get Off Of My Cloud, The Rolling Stones.
The Whigs have their hands full these days with a ongoing trek across the great 50 and the earned pressure of performing at the A game night after night. But if you ask me, it’s really the rest of those pretenders out there that have their hands full. Not only can the Whigs deliver with all hands on board, they can double dog dare ya and then do it blindfolded. See ma, I told we could!
It’s nothing less than an awesome show from an awesome band. Godspeed you Whigs and here’s to having the honor to rock with you again soon!


Frank Backgammon said...

Charlotte's only music blogger, to my knowledge. Thanks for covering the scene! This is Frank from the Sammies. We need to correspond sometime, so feel free to email or get up with us through our blog, or email me, Talk to you soon we hope!

Liz - 4 Ohm said...

Nice review. Is there an email where I can send you an mp3 of a band I think you're gonna dig?