The other night, while most of the denim and leather contingent was watching the Boss try to remember what town he was in, I was pumped to catch another long time bad-ass Jon Spencer with his latest project Heavy Trash at The End. This little venue is across the street from it's big brother, the Exit In and usually plays host to local high school bands, making it an odd choice of stages for Spencer.
I showed up in time to catch most of the set from the second openers, Kindergarten Circus. This band, along with the venue, made something not seem right about this show. These youngsters banged through their 45 minute set with loud bar chords and unintelligible vocals thanking the crowd before they clapped and starting each song with "This song's called..." refrains. These guys definitely belong at The End, just not opening for such a rock God as Jon Spencer, even if it is a lesser known side project than the Blues Explosion.
As Heavy Trash sauntered onto the stage, the small crowd, including everyone from Urban Outfitter hipsters to a couple of bikers to Kindergarten Circus' parents, gathered around the front of the stage. After a brief technical glitch, Spencer welcomed the fans and launched into his set. This band has more of an old timey rockabilly sound than the Blues Explosion, with Jon on acoustic guitar, along with an electric Gretsch, a stand-up dog house bass, and a slick drummer, former Fluid Ounce, Sam Baker, who thanked those representing his "good old Murfreesboro". It was a little more laid back than I had hoped, but there were still times when Spencer got rowdy, shaking us up with his trademark growls and delay effects on his vocals. He writhed around that tiny stage and gave us all what we've come to expect from this New York punk blues man. Each of the other band members also treated us to a vocal selection, including "My Dirty Sneakers" from the drummer with his ukulele. The set ended with an epic, sermon-like rap from Jon, which climaxed with him doubled over on his knees and screaming like his eyes were going to pop out. This huge finale must have been lost on the crowd because they had to be guilted into clapping for an encore by an outspoken fan. When they finally woke up and got the Trash back on stage, we got a couple more songs from the new record and that was it.
This outing was fun, but odd. It was like a high school band bash with a national iconic headliner. The sound was inadequate and the crowd was a little tame but Heavy Trash put on a good show none-the-less. Jon Spencer has been around for 20 plus years and I sure can't wait to see what his next venture will be. Whether it's another new band or a reunion of one of his many old bands, like a Blues Explosion tour, or even more Heavy Trash, I'll be there, no matter what crappy little bar he chooses.