Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tonight was the big March mustache celebration featuring local weirdos H-Beam at the Rutledge downtown. The Rutledge is on of my favorite venues in town. It's clean, roomy, and sound man Frank has been running the boards for years in Nashville and seems to have it figured out pretty well.
Sporting my own gringo bandito stache, I made it to the show just as the openers, Bowling Green's Thee Japanese Schoolgirls started their set. They sounded kind of like a really young Stone Temple Pilots might have sounded in their garage, before they kicked out their awful singer and found Scott Weiland. The band was decent but the singer, sans-instrument, was unbearable. It was unbearable enough to make me leave the entire show and hit up a nearby house party for an hour.
Upon my return I was greeted by Nashville's most far out rockers firing up their set. The first thing I noticed was that they had yet another different drummer, and had added a second guitarist and a saxophone for this show. The guitarist was Rick from a band called Uncle Milty. This was the band that opened for H's CD release show last summer with their silly, often immature and raunchy but still fun set. He added some good rhythm guitar but his biggest contribution was one of his songs about watching a lover a little too closely. I didn't catch the new drummer's name but he reminded me a lot of Rollum Haas from the Features. He had some stylish stick moves, and aside from some speeding and slowing issues, was a pretty good fit for the Beam. I was pleased to see that Russell Wright was still on bass. He has become one of the premier bassists on the Nashville local scene, with his ability to blend in anywhere and blow the doors off of anything, as well as his ability to juggle. Leading this whole trip was guitarist/singer Matt Walberg. His playing never ceases to amaze me, and his showmanship is really what makes this band so much fun. They can replace anyone they want, as long as Russell and Matt stick around.
The show included several skits and a cast of characters that covered influences from Andy Kauffman, to the Muppets, to Sid and Marty Krofft. The life-sized mustache character was the latest addition and looked great, along with the overgrown box of hair and the pimped out Tony Clifton-esque MC. The music covered plenty of persuasions as well from Pink Floyd, to Frank Zappa, to, again, the Muppets. The actual mustache contest lingered on for what seemed like forever. Luckily the back ground music for the event was funky and interesting enough to make it fun. Songs such as "Naked Ladies Dot Com" and "Love Panda" really showed how Walberg can create a completely silly, nonsensical yet musically genius song.
When I saw this band last summer, Matt promised the next show would be nothing we've ever seen before. Although the song list was similar (and it was great), he was right. I have never seen a man-high mustache, I've never seen a mustache contest with so much fan fare, and I've certainly never seen a bass player put his axe down and juggle. The creativity of this group makes it a treat to see them again and again. Their jam band style of music makes it unique every time and the ever changing theatrics make each show it's own masterpiece.