Monday, March 16, 2009

Show Review: The Dirty Little Heaters

Local 506, Chapel Hill
March 15, 2009

the dirty little heaters

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I get a call from Franklin Street Fighting Man who had just been awarded free tickets to Let's Wrestle at The Local 506 via Glenn's stampede style monthly ticket give away. With the offer of a free ticket on the table, I was probably 75% in at this point. I hung up and nav'd over to the 506 page to find a click through to their myspace and have a listen. When I saw that The Dirty Little Heaters were also on the bill, I rapidly nav'd back to my mobile phone and upgraded my interest in the free ticket to 110%.

I had seen The Dirty Little Heaters perform once before at Chaz's upstairs room before a punk show caved the floor in and forced the venue to re-lo across town. It was epic and I recall vowing to see them perform again, a vow which has gone wholely broken until last night. As of today, I can re-avow however, what a show. A couple of songs into the set we heard "Mexico Way" which I had been listening to all afternoon via myspace. Witnessing it live last night in front of the thousands of watts the 506 PA pushes was confirmation that this song and this band is the spirit of rock. This music doesn't inhabit a sub-genre that needs comparison to explain and describe, it's simply straight forward, four piece, vintage rock.

The custom Fender wielding tube powered Reece McHenry fronts the band with one of the strongest vocals you can hear around town. I confidently state this not only from my own impression, but from jury of peers. Reece opened a show at The Pinhook recently playing a solo acoustic set and blew the roof off with her range. Standing next to Anne Gomez (Cantwell Gomez and Jordan), I remarked on Reece's voice. Anne turned to comment, "Reece has the best voice I have ever heard," and she wasn't talking just locally. Her's is a well respected talent.

Wall to wall people at 506 is every band's goal so I risk insensitivity in confessing that nights like this with around 50 people sparsely arranged in the stage room are the most enjoyable for me. With a little atmosphere between warm bodies, everyone becomes a pinch self aware and zips the lips. It turned into a listening party and for the indie die hard’s that braved a cold rainy Sunday night to hear some rock, well that's just the kind of party we were looking for. None to dull between songs however, the lethargic crowd gave Reece and bass player Rob Walsh an open opportunity to fire away with the witty banter. Our chargeless yes/no answers barely responded to their prompts but their sincerity was engaging and superbly rounded out the performance.

The door may have been less than what The Dirty Little Heaters deserve but on Selection Sunday with the thermometer dropping faster than the rain I say take it and run. The Dirty Little Heaters have a spring schedule affording everyone who missed this show some make up dates. I highly recommend that you do.

Visit their profiles: the dirty little heaters the dirty little heaters facebook fan page

More images from Sunday Night;

Reece McHenry, lead guitar/vocals
Reece McHenry

Doug White, keyboards
Doug White

the dirty little heaters

Let's Wrestle
let's wrestle

let's wrestle


  1. I went to their page and listened - the lead singer reminds me of Janis Joplin, whom I never favored; but then she WAS a great sensation. Course I didn't like the Beatles either. Give her some singing years and her voice will probably get that same rugged quality Janis had. I remain... A BIG FAN of your reviews.

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