Scouts Honor with Fernald
Wednesday · Southgate House Parlour
Drummer Tom "Atomic" Satterfield will remove his shirt before the band begins, but it usually takes a few songs before his wild thrashing sends his glasses flying off. This is about as predictable he and guitarist Jared Grabb get as they tear their way across the country setting bars ablaze with an ever-evolving mixture of "Power Duo" riffing and dark Americana. Wielding a complete disregard for balance, they play to both extremes, but always with conviction — like randomly twiddling the bathtub faucets and jumping in with no regard to the temperature.
As expected, Scouts Honor has twisted roots, beginning in rural Illinois' burgeoning Punk and Metal scene. Initially, Grabb set out to temper the heaviness with the addition of traditional acoustic Folk and Country music. In fact, he went so far down this path as to release a split with Lesser Birds of Paradise. Then, netting three cohorts from various Hardcore bands, SH started off artistically in 2003 with their six-song demo, A Spirited Conversation Between a Blind Man and a Mute. The concept piece, recorded by A.J. Mogis at Presto!, alternates between full-on Post Punk and sparse, affecting acoustic lulls and could have passed for a new Roger Waters album.
Following a summer break, the group reformed as a duo, taking advantage of the strengths of the remaining members. Over the course of their next few releases, the music became progressively more jangly, but also less bipolar.
This year's offerings, the full-length Roots in Gasoline and their recent 7-inch Remembrance of This That I Loved, are getting ever closer to capturing their intense Scream-a-billy live show. Fans of local Cow Punk wonders like Hogscraper and Heevahava will have an instant appreciation for SH's brand of down-home deconstructed Blues. (Ezra Waller)
Byron House, Then and Than, Haves & Thirds, Sword Heaven, Realicide, Evolve, Smut and more
Friday · The Damage
Punk and Jazz share only the thinnest shred of musical lineage, but both stood for anarchic musical expression at some point. Both genres have also veered so far from their subversive roots that the connection to their present-day incarnations are almost purely academic. Today, Experimental Noise acts continue to fill the void for musicians and listeners seeking a less-than-objective musical experience. As with many "underground" scenes (meaning ones that do not exalt scattershot promotion), the artists are usually organized around a label or community. This show represents two outstanding fringe circles, one playing host (Cincinnati's Realicide collective) and another coming to visit (Cephia's Treat Recordings from Florida).
Founded four years ago by Todd and Ian Lynne in order to organize the Tampa Bay area's DIY Noisecore scene, CT quickly gained notoriety for putting on free shows in oddball public places. They also began releasing albums at a blistering pace. Despite Ian's tragic death last summer, the label remains vital to the fabric of cutting edge Noise Punk across the nation. This show is part of the "Could You Please Pass the Kneecaps" tour. It features Byron House (not to be confused with the accomplished session bassist), a guitar-and-drums-mayhem outfit; Haves & Thirds, an engrossing, quote-laden, sample-based cacophony; and Then and Than's homespun sound foundry. In addition to Realicide's disembodied Techno and groovy experimental Hip Hop entity Evolve, the bill also features some regional talent, including Sword Heaven, an imposing tribal duo from Columbus, and Bloomington's Smut. This is one of a number of recent monstrous shows at The Damage, an all-ages venue in Northside in the former location of late Punk club The Void. As Cephia's Treat has demonstrated, shows in non-bar venues are indicative of two things: bands who are in it for the love of making music and fans who are there to listen. (EW)
Reverend Horton Heat
Tuesday · Top Cat's
We've always known that the Reverend Horton Heat, just like Sears, has a softer side. He displayed it right here in these very pages just over nine years ago when he detailed a trip he and his band took to Russia to play for (and eventually in) a town that had been used as a toxic dump site, dooming its inhabitants to cancer-shortened existences. The Rev's heartfelt description of the positive effects the show (and the band's mere presence) had on his ailing audience was an unexpected insight into his compassionate streak. Of course, he gave the Russians every minute of the growling, leering, jet engine-volume Slamabilly insanity he's been known for right from the start, so there was a nice counterbalance between perception and presentation.
And so it is with the Rev's latest recorded project, We Three Kings, a collection of traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas tunes, wrapped up and bowed in the Ramones-kick-Brian-Setzer's-ass style that the Rev and his raucous, righteous rhythm section (upright bassist Jimbo Wallace, steroid-enriched drummer Scott Churilla) have trademarked over the years. On We Three Kings, the Rev gives off his patented Punkabilly reverb vibe in the service of holiday gems that are alternately joyful and triumphant (a juiced up "Frosty the Snowman," a Batman-meets-the-Fatman take on "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," the Peter Gunn menace of the title track, the chugging abandon of "Run Rudolph Run") and tender and mild (relatively straight readings of classics like "What Child Is This," "Silver Bells" and Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper"). And now the Rev and his boys are bringing their tour sleigh to town for an evening of this very same face-melting Rock & Roll holiday frolic along with a few surprises for your stockings (provided they're hung with care). Strap on your dancing snow boots, grab your favorite ski bunny/stud and jet down to the Top Cat's for a sackful of Blitzen guitars, spiked bars and Bethlehem stars. Yo, ho, ho. (Brian Baker)