Tonight was the long awaited H-Beam cd release party at the Rutledge. The bill included J-Po and the VAB and Uncle Milty as openers. I'm not gonna spend much time on J-Po, his show is pretty much the same (see below review). Although I will say he stayed a little more sober this time and actually put on a show from the stage, even if it was the same old stale show we've all seen numerous times.
After spending some time on the smoking deck, I came in to catch most of the set from Uncle Milty. They had drawn a nice crowd, ranging from moms to young hipsters. These guys were a laid back local band with a Widespread/Wilco type vibe. There were a couple of songs in a row that had the same chord progression, hence the Widespread comparison and catchy songs about love and Texas, hence Wilco. There were some times when some of the band members looked to be a little left out, like the poor guy on the acoustic guitar who just didn't make it into the mix, and the background vocal girl, who spent the majority of the time just standing there. There was something about this band that I can't decide if I like or not. They showed a lack of maturity with songs like "Santa Was Doin' My Momma" and "Truck Stop Gang Rape", and the show closer, "There's a Turd In The Swimming Pool". I guess I like the comedy idea, i.e. Pork Chop Express, but these guys didn't really seem to pull it off. They tried to look serious while asking the crowd to "fish out" said turd. Their songs were catchy and well written, even if their lyricist does seem to be a high school freshman.
Then H-Beam started. These guys are always a trip. They were introduced by a Tony Clifton type character wielding a chipping wedge and a purple pimp hat. This was just the beginning of the parade of characters to come through this show, as is typical with H-Beam. The music was really tight, as would be expected from a band that has been playing and listening to these songs in the studio for months. They have sort of a Flaming Lips/Zappa type sound with a stage show that could have been an episode from the Muppets. Leader Matt Walberg was excellent on that guitar of his. Russell Wright was a good stable bass substitute, as always, and the rhythm chicken on drums was really good too. Also props to him for the hand fart solo. Awesome. The show came to an abrupt awkward ending when one of the crazed mutant characters apparently pissed off the drummer enough to storm off the stage mid song. You never know, with H-Beam, this could have been planned although probably not the best way to encourage the crowd to buy your new record, which is probably why Beam did it. Kings of theatrics and drama these guys are. I hope Matt comes through on his promise for the next show to be "something we have never seen before."
Major props to Frank for the great mix on the soundboard.