Sunday, July 16, 2017

7.15.2017, Fort Worth

It was a night of singers.

Transistor Tramps played their first show in five years at Lola's Saloon last night, on a bill with Panic Volcanic and Dead Vinyl. Three bands I want to see playing five minutes from mi casa is sufficient cause for me to venture out, so I headed over there a little after nine and was surprised (again, I don't get out much) at the number of cars parked on the street so early. Some of 'em were probably from Lola's Trailer Park (where a big TV screen had the sports on all night, rather than in the saloon -- good move, Brian Forella!), but both of the support bands are big draws, I gather. However it came about, a good house to start out with.

I'd seen Ansley-The Destroyer Doughtery for the first time a few weeks earlier, singing covers with Frank y los Frijoles in the Trailer Park while I was trying to sell records with Carl Pack at the Rock and Roll Rummage Sale. With Panic Volcanic, she was Something Entahrly Other: comparisons being odious, imagine Janis Joplin (minus the rasp, but with lots of power, projection, and presence) fronting the Grand Funk Railroad riddim section. (Offstage, I was surprised to note that she's quite diminutive, rather than the amazon I was expecting.) Behind her, drummer Chris Cole and bassist Zach Tucker (about whom more later) flailed 1970-length hair while kicking up a ruckus like Don and Mel at the Cincinnati Pop Festival. Stirring stuff. They release their second album at Main at South Side on August 4.

Dead Vinyl's trip is also replete with '70s referents, and they get bonus points for opening with Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody" and closing with Elvis' "You're So Square (Baby I Don't Care)." Before he opens his mouth, frontman Hayden Miller comes across like a slacker Everykid, but put him on the mic and he campaign shouts like a Southern diplomat, with showmanship to spare. His band plays sweaty boogie rock with sass and swagger, like a less inhibited Free or post-Smokin' Humble Pie. Guitarist Tyler Vela channels Page and Kossoff with a brittle tone reminiscent of the Red 100s' Raul Mercado, while bearing an uncanny resemblance to Jeremy Diaz of Dead Sexy fame. In the engine room, the aforementioned Zach Tucker is joined by Parker Anderson, with whom he also plays in Animal Spirit and whom I first saw playing with Eddie Dunlap's Mondo Drummers a few seasons back. They're all stupendous.

Transistor Tramps returned to the stage after a lengthy hiatus while frontwoman Elle Hurley battled hepatitis-C (read all about it in Steve Watkins' piece here). The band -- Elle's husband Richard Hurley on guitar, keyboardist David Sebrind, and drummer Jason Sweatt, plus new backup singers Angie Ntavyo and Morgan A'lyse Gardner -- reconvened five months ago at the request of Elle and Richard's daughter Chloe for her 18th birthday. Their streamlined sound, a blend of '80s synth pop and late '70s rock without an ounce of excess to be found, serves as a vehicle for Elle's tough chick persona, and she really inhabits the songs she sings, with the backup vocalists giving the proceedings more of a celebratory air. When Chloe joined Elle to sing "Jackie Boy" at the end of the set, it was clear that she inherited her mother's pipes. I'm going to have to dig out my copy of the EP they released before the hiatus. They should be recording again soon.


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