Our weekend started off a little rough: Friday morning storms canceled all flights out of O'Hare. Thanks to snap decisions and an intrepid traveling companion, we were in a rental car (mid-size, even!) and flying down I-57 by noon. Nine hours later, we pulled up to the Hi-Tone only to discover that the doors weren't open, and that our friends were drinking at the nearby Lamplighter Lounge. A round or two and back to the show.

The scene inside

The Gories played first, and despite the sweltering mid-south heat, one practice, and a sick vocalist, they did alright. Part of the Gories' charm is the heroic amount of traction they can squeeze out of two chords and stripped-down trap kit. Friday was no different, and though it would have been a pleasure to hear Mick's smooth baritone a little more, the Gories sounded about as shitty as ever; which is to say, pretty great.

Under the beer tent. The guy with the hair runs Rocket Science Audio, the mobile studio responsible for recording everything that matters in Memphis.

The Oblivians took the stage and killed it, running through a set packed full of hits. Robin and Kyle from Rocket Science Audio recorded the whole thing and were kind enough to post a couple tracks:

Guitar Shop Asshole

Mad Lover

Ain't No Sicko

We got to bed at a reasonable hour, as we had designs on touring Memphis Saturday before the day shows at Murphy's. Despite our best intentions, the heat put an end to any real day-time high-jinks. After Bryant's for breakfast we headed downtown to poke around A. Schwab's. Beale Street is a nightmare, sort of like if Disneyland had a section where one could buy those "yard of beer" monstrosities and catch some stinky blooze riffage. The heat and the scene were getting to us, so we ducked into the cool climate-controlled environs of a hotel bar, where we glimpsed the famous Peabody Ducks.

Brynat's famous biscuits

BigStates' co-conspirator at A. Schwab's

Peabody Ducks

We made a quick stop in midtown to poke into Goner Records and the vintage shop next door, then made our way to Payne's for lunch. Our appetites were small, I think due in part to the heat (have mentioned it was hot?) but also because we ate our weight in grits and biscuits for breakfast. Anyway, over to Murphy's to catch Twinkle Van Winkle, Magic Kids, Lover!, Perfect Fits, and CoCoComa. Everyone sounded pretty good, and the back room at Murphy's managed to stay pretty cool. Elspeth (that's her in all the pictures) and I decided to grab take-out from Gus's and head back to the house (and its powerful A/C) for much-needed showers, naps, and general r + r.
Gus's World Famous fried chicken

The second round of shows saw the Gories improve. They seemed tighter and to really feed off the crowd's energy, and though Mick's voice was still a little rough, I think I can die happy. Getting to hear "Nitroglycerine,""Thunderbird ESQ,"and "Feral"-among others-live, TWICE, was a rock and roll dream come true.

When the Oblivians finally started playing, everyone was thinking the same thing: is Quintron gonna play with 'em? A hard guy to miss, I think every Oblivians fan in Memphis had noticed Mr. Swamp Boogie Badass himself wandering around the Hi-Tone on Friday night. Apparently not one to disappoint, he joined the band late in their set for four songs. Like always, Rocket Science captured the magic:

If Mother Knew

Garage Punk Parking Lot

After what everyone agreed was a pretty mind-boggling set, Elspeth and I grabbed Joey and Marni (the Provo Contingent) and headed to the Pancake House out on Summer Ave. for a late-night round of bacon waffles. At about three, we high-tailed it back to the Hi-Tone in the hopes of grabbing a few more cold beers (it was still hot, even at 3:30 AM). Our hopes were dashed temporarily when we realized we were half an hour late for last call, but the indefatigable Robin Pack of the oft-mentioned Rocket Science Audio agreed to lead us to the mythical Alex's Tavern, a bar that apparently never closes.
Me, with Marni, one half of the Provo Contingent
Elspeth with Joey, the other half
This is what Memphis looks like at 6 AM

After about five hours of sleep, Elspeth and I headed north to Carbondale, IL, to visit our friends Rosie and Becky. More A/C, $0.75 PBR draughts, and good times. It was a nice way to wind down and break up the drive, and Rosie and Becky always show us a good time.
Rosie and Becky, the coolest kids in Carbondale

The next morning, thoroughly exhausted, we made our way back to Chicago. All in all, a great weekend. I got to see two shows by bands I never even considered seeing live, ate great food, and did it all in great company. Special thanks to Gina and Scott for putting us up... see you in September for Gonerfest!
Finally, back in Chicago

1 comment:

rleng727 said...

It looked like you had some fun! Me and a friend went too! We stayed at a hostel right in front of Goner records, which was the greatest record store ever. Despite the heat, Memphis was a real cool place! Beale Street SUCKED. Did the gentleman from Rocket Science Audio say if he was eventually going to release the audio for the show? Did he record the Gories AND Oblivians sets?