It's been a little while since Chuck and I were able to see some really good live music. The last time was seeing the Carolina Chocolate Drops back in September.
We had the perfect excuse to fix that this past weekend. We traveled up to Raleigh to see The Ettes, The Dex Romweber Duo and supporting bands perform.
I'm a huge fan of Jack White and the various musical projects he takes on. Seems like people either love or hate Jack White. I'm a lover. His label, Third Man Records, signs some really cool bands. There are weekend long catered events put on across the country by the fans of the label, who belong to a forum called The Vault.
Our friend Helen, whom we met online through our mutual love of Led Zeppelin and music in general, also loves Jack White and Third Man Records. We had never met Helen in person before, so we took this opportunity to do just that and enjoy the music all in one go.
We set the whole thing up (and paid up), and then bad news. The event as it was advertised was cancelled. It would not be a catered, exclusive event. We were given a full refund and a free invitation. The Ettes, Dex Romweber, the 1-10's (pronounced One Through Tens) and The Redheaded Stepchildren would still play on Saturday night.
We had already paid for the hotel and decided we would still meet up and have a good time anyway.
We arrived in Raleigh around 11am, and went to the hotel. We walked in the door, and there was a woman sitting in a chair near the door, who Chuck thought was Helen. He smiled at her and said, 'HEY!'. I realized before Chuck did that the woman was not Helen, and she looked VERY creeped out. I quickly explained that my husband was not really all that creepy and he thought she was someone else. Hilarious.
Helen arrived just after lunch, and we went to meet her. We've met a couple of our online friends in person before, and we haven't been disappointed yet (none of them have turned out to be pedophiles or murderers). We decided to go out and have a drink before getting ready for the concert.
The Tir na nOg Pub is one of my favourite places to eat and drink in Raleigh. It's right next to the Pour House Music Hall where we went to see the event that night.
Helen and I:
Chuckles, Helen and I:
We set off for the concert around 7ish. The three of us felt a little 'peckish' (as Helen put it, she's British), so we made a stop at Caffe Luna.
It boasts 'Italian cuisine with a Tuscan flair'. The food was delicious, although Chuck and I wished we were a little better dressed. We weren't quite sure where we'd eat, and this place was right down the street from the venue. And it was chilly so we made a quick decision. The first patron I saw when we were seated was wearing a bow-tie. Chuck was wearing an Old Crow Medicine Show t-shirt. Needless to say, we kept our sweaters on. Helen looked elegant as usual, she fit right in. :)
We walked over to the Pour House just after 8. The first band was supposed to be on at 9. We had found out that morning that The Ettes had cancelled their appearance. The ticket price had dropped from $10.00 to $7.00. Chuck cheekily said to the guy at the door, 'The Ettes were only worth $3, eh?' The guy didn't look amused.
Apparently he didn't have us on his list of free attendees. Helen called the promotor, Randy, and he came outside to meet us and apologize and thank us for still coming even though the original event was cancelled. He was a character. Looked and talked exactly like Jonah Hill from 'Superbad', but with a haircut.
Found this picture of Randy on the 1-10's website.
The music actually didn't start till 10. The venue was a lot smaller than we thought it would be. We were some of the only people there for awhile, except for Superbad, I mean Randy, and Dex Romweber, who floated in and out.
The first band was The Redheaded Stepchildren.
I don't have a picture of them, or a link to a website or anything. They were a fun band to watch and had some interesting songs. Not the most polished group, but the front man was a pretty good guitarist. The drummer was playing his first gig back from suffering a stroke (seriously) and he was a really good singer. He wasn't the main singer, but in my opinion he should sing more because he had a great voice. The front man was very funny, which worked for him in between songs. All in all, a good band to have as a warm-up band. A band out there doing what they do just because they love it. They know that they're not The Beatles, and they're confident enough to be ok with that.
The second band was the Dex Romweber Duo, comprised of guitarist and vocalist Dex Romweber (duh) and his sister Sara, who played drums.
These two should be way more famous than they are (even though they do have quite the following already). Dex may not look like it from the photos, but he's a demon on the guitar. They have a rockabilly, surf-punk, bluesy sound with a little classic country Spaghetti western-ish sound thrown in. Makes me want to get up and dance. Or be Clint Eastwood.
This is 'Last Kind Word Blues', featuring Jack White.
And this is an actual clip of 'The Wind Did Move' from Saturday's performance that I just found on YouTube, that someone (not myself) had filmed. Just imagine me dancing back near the bar, 'cause that's where I am in this :)
The sound quality of the film doesn't do the performance justice. But there it is just the same. Dex has this habit of turning his back to the audience during a solo. He was kind of a weird guy. But cool. And like I said, he could play the hell out of that guitar.
They played until about 12:15. I thought that they were going to be the headliner (because they were, really), but there was one more band on after them.
The 1-10's are based out of Nashville.
They're a young band, with a lot of passion to make it in the music business. They put everything they had into their performance and I greatly admire that.
The lone chick in the band, Abby, is the drummer. She played like Animal from the Muppets up there, and I mean that as a compliment. I've never seen a woman play drums like that, I was very impressed.
The bassist, Ben, played with feeling and took a turn at the vocals. The guitarist, Adam, is a fantastic player. Talk about energy. He's also very personable.
The singer was super hot. His name is Will. But that doesn't matter. Because he was super hot. And he can really sing.
In my personal opinion, they got kind of screwed over with their placement in the lineup. I think everyone came to see Dex, and after that the place cleared out. And it's not that it cleared out because the 1-10's music was bad, it cleared out even before they started playing because the headliner had already played. It was weird and unfair.
We decided to stay and have another drink and see how the group played, because that's just how we are. We don't judge until we listen.
On their homepage, they're described as sounding like Alice in Chains, Wolfmother, Queens of the Stone Age, etc...you can hear and see who their influences are when you see them live for sure.
For example, after the 1-10's played a couple of songs, Helen leaned over and said about the singer, "All he needs is 'Nurses Do It Better' on his t-shirt..."
(In case you're not a Zep fan or just live under a rock, the man in the second picture is Robert Plant. The first pic is of the 1-10's from Saturday's show, which I didn't take, btw.)
I think everyone that left the show early really missed out on seeing an energetic, talented young band with a lot of potential.
If they happened to Google themselves and read this review, I would hope that they take what I say next as constructive criticism, and not a 'Who does she think she is?' Because I am a regular person, and not an influential writer for Rolling Stone or Mojo or something. But I'm a huge music fan, and I think I have taste. Which should count for something.
I think that these young musicians will go far if they just be themselves and are comfortable with themselves. Instead of wanting to hear, 'Wow, these guys are the new Alice in Chains!' or 'These guys are awesome, they sound just like Pearl Jam!' (which is what I first thought when I heard the first song, they may not be trying to sound like them), they should aim for being recognized for talent in their own right, i.e "The 1-10's are great, what an awesome new sound!'
During the second song, I overheard a guy behind me start singing Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" and I could tell he had the impression that I had. Every frontman needs time to 'find himself', and I think Will Floyd is on the right track to developing his own distinctive style in time. He also should work on his banter with the audience in between songs. Even if there are only 2 people in the audience, consider it practice. That's always one of my favourite parts of any performance, and really shows how confident the front man really is.
I'm not picking on him in a mean way, and I'm not trying to focus on him at the expense of the others. I just tend to focus on the singer when I'm enjoying a band. My husband focuses on the guitarist. Potato, potah-to.
Oh, and the singer should always wear tighter jeans. Seriously. Bulge sells.
The show ended around 1:30, and they came right out to thank us for staying and listening when almost everyone else bailed. They were very nice, and I think it's an excellent thing for a new band to come out and chat with their audience so that the audience knows they're appreciated. And I think it's important for the audience to let a band know they're appreciated too. Give this band a chance if they happen to be playing in your city.
We got in to our hotel around 2am, and crashed. Didn't sleep so well, because of drunken people shouting in the hallway at 3am...oh, and the siren at 3:30am...oh, and let's not forget the blatting train horn at 4am...us backwoods folk just aren't used to the city ;).
The day was super-fun. The next day was just as fun, and it will be the subject of the next post. Here's a hint of what it might contain:
Feel free to let your imaginations run wild.