Sunday, November 30, 2008

Show Review: New Town Drunks

Fuse, Chapel Hill
November 26, 2008

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It could have been a warm summer eve in Havana, the sticky sweet fume of cigarette smoke numbing my senses as it swirled up to the sparingly few lamp shades whose dim light drew a rich and dark red hue from the walls of the small lounge. The men leaned in with wide grins from their booth seats to hear stories being shared across the table while extravagantly decorated women arranged themselves at the bar being seen and admired. But the favorite drink at this club wasn't a mojito and it wasn't warm outside. We were at Fuse and the favorite drink is the good old Chapel Hill alt music scene mainstay, PBR. Outside on a cold and dark Rosemary Street, the members of a proud and diligent music subculture began to follow their shadows into the small room where New Town Drunks were about to hold their second free pre-record release show.

I walked in alone and was greeted by every pair of eyes in the room. This is a band whose following know each other by first name and new faces are welcomed with curiosity. Instinct lead me to the bar, serendipity gave me a spot right next to Diane Koistinen whose voice is readily noticeable as the ballad-belting singer for New Town Drunks. I dubbed in "I'll take one too" as Diane ordered a PBR and we shared the quick smile of approval for one another's taste in beers. Having listened to and enjoyed all of the tracks posted on their myspace and reverbnation profiles I was eager to know what of their new album they would be playing but I held my tongue and found a wall to hold up in the back of the room while watching gear set-up and sound check.

My chosen spot being right next to a pair of room heaters proved to be a great place for conversation however as the blustery November night drove a steady stream of cold hands my way. In random conversations three times I was asked who I was/where I came from, once I was offered left over pizza (which I ate), and once if I had voted, which in retrospect I should have not hesitated with my answer because the conclusion jumped that I was socially expressionless and I spent the better part of my beer defending my politics while being cackled at. When I finally steered the conversation with the pollster back onto music I learned that she had not heard New Town Drunks before and confessed was more interested with their name. As the music started however, her reaction told a story.

Here a new impression was being made as the pollster and I shared a toast of approval to each song we found pleasing. From the modern day call of the wild, "lost" which is both an instructional tale for what we are to do on the day we say "F!" it and just start driving as well as it is a guide for those who will endeavor to know where we went, to the down-and-out stay predictably down-and-out "Down With The Poor," these are characteristically American songs about the human condition having reached the summary of ones mistakes and interestingly enough, they are arranged to melodies that kept me and the pollster's heads bobbing.

In writing about these songs however, this blogger is late to the party as these previous releases are soon to be playing back-up in favor of their new album, "The Ballad of Stayed and Gone" of which two songs were played for us and as far as I could tell maintain form with the NTD subject matter of heartache and it's self-prescribed remedies. In that tradition, their music plays theme for an alternate reality for each us should we have zigged instead of zagged and offers a suggestion to "who would I be if not who I am?" Perhaps a raging alcoholic? If I were I could think of no better songs to rage to and no better bunch of folks to hold my hair.

The New Town Drunks next listed show is December 27th, 2008 at The Cave with Taz Halloween and Dexter Romweber.

New Town Drunks revernation and myspace profiles: New Town Drunks New Town Drunks

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