The Weekend: Moving Front, Whigs, etc. | Rock Candy

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Weekend: Moving Front, Whigs, etc.

Posted By on Mon, Jan 21, 2008 at 12:40 PM

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Photo by Matthew Martin. One day my digital camera won't be broken, and I'll take actual from-the-show pics.

It was a full weekend.

I can wholeheartedly not recommend going to Damgoode in Hillcrest on Friday nights unless you like your pizza with a side of over zealous, conversation-killing Robert Earl Keen covers. Music played in a 10" x 25" room doesn't need to be amplified. The Funky Chicken plus jalapeños, without cheese? Always reliable.

Silverton sounded promising at White Water on Friday, but the harmonies didn't always hit and the players seemed to get off track often. Silverton come from that North Little Rock school of blending folk and theatricality that's sometimes awesome and sometimes a precious mess. Here's to awesomeness on the horizon for the big folk-rock outfit. The Moving Front's set was revelatory. The dudes, pared down to a four-piece now, have played out the last month or so, but for whatever reason, this was the first time I'd seen them since they took a performance hiatus mid-last year. Bearded and new haircutted, like any self-respecting band that's been away from the stage for a minute (how else to mark the passage of time?), the MF ran through old favorites that remain as searing, if even a little tighter, than when they debuted them two years ago. But the new songs! Hot damn. This, Little Rock music scene, is what happens when talented players practice and stay together. It's hard to pin down the new stuff. Brighter. More new wave flourishes. A redoubled intensity that's limited to particular spots. Everything sounded more controlled, more spare. Mark Lewis is doing some sick, rhythmic Gang of Four-style figures on his guitar. Jeremy Brasher is lifting some of the bite off his voice and doing different things with his delivery to awesome effect. On and on. I can't wait to see the MF again and even more for them to get into the studio. "Southside" is an early favorite to be the jam of the year. I only caught three or four Doug McKean songs. A lot of folks seemed into it, but nostalgia seemed like a key.

The Whigs, below.        
Mid set, Parker Gispert, the lead singer of the Whigs, told the crowd, "We don't often play to people sitting down. You guys are polite." There might've been a little bit of sarcasm there. The Athens trio's no-frills rawk was made for sweaty clubs and bodies. Tis a shame more weren't on hand, but seated, we could better take in the ridiculous drum work of Julian Dorio. The Whigs too often muddy their melodies, but Dorio made every song compelling. It was sort of like a less hooky Replacements with Keith Moon as the drummer. Or an acolyte of the drummer from Lightning Bolt. Constant action, but not in an annoying way. "Mission Control," the bands sophomore release comes out tomorrow. Check "Right Hand On My Heart," the best song the band played on Saturday, for download here.

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