The Midgetmen brought their ear-crushing live show to San Francisco’s Bender’s Bar last month with an impressive fervor. The band pulled no punches, sonically or otherwise, as they headlined an interesting evening of music in our always interesting music city.
Ezra Furman started off the night solo, his presence ever-magnetizing, even as he stared at the floor and retreated into his inner world. If you don’t know Ezra, he is a force to behold. His lyrics touch places I didn’t know I had, his voice crooning through a crooked smile covered in bright red lipstick. His latest album, Perpetual Motion People, mixes the goodness of Motown sugar with the struggles of a continuing coming of age. The Midgetmen declared him one of their favorite acts in our email exchange leading up to the show, and I can wholeheartedly agree. Catch him next in SF with his Chicago-based band, The Boy Friends, at The Rickshaw Stop on December 6th. Openers are Guy Blakeslee (of The Entrance Band) and The Damn Fanatics (of the writer of this blog:).
Buzzmutt continued the evening with dark & heavy licks that swept back and forth from psychedelic soundscapes to more familiar grunge-infused guitar, with a hint of pop sensibilities to hook listeners minds and bodies. Their latest release, Strange Planes of surveillance, boasts production by the late “Ikey” Owens, former participant in Jack White’s band as well as The Mars Volta. Thick drums and dissonant melodies pack the powerful 6 song EP. Buzzmutt’s mix of aggressive-leaning psych-rock with a relatively laid back performance left the floor open for what was to come. Also, they have great choose-your-own color t-shirts, follow them on Facebook for the latest spots to pick one up.
As The Midgetmen nonchalantly set up, beers in hand, I wondered how this self-proclaimed “slop punk” act would shape up live. The recordings on their most recent LP, Hobbytown, provide clean, upbeat poppy punk with a healthy dose of Southern Twanged Rawk – as much The Ramones as Bachman Turner Overdrive. The live setup could go a lot of directions, and The Midgetmen choose balls to the wall rock n’ roll. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, nor do they need to. Their unapologetic sweat-drenched set was laden with a comfortability that comes from many years of pushing each other’s buttons. Truly enjoyable. Lucky for Texas the slop punk mavens are back in Austin for shows on Friday 10/9 at Hole in the Wall w/ We’ll Go Machete, Holder, and Economy Island & Saturday 10/24 at Mohawk w/ Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. As for their next SF show, let’s hope they make it back in one piece.