Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Show Review: Rat Jackson, The Pneurotics

Triangle Brewery, Durham
May 15, 2010

Accessible by Mark Twain romantic figures drifting down the Durham Railroad Street right-of-way via boxcar and by SUV driving Durham city street going realists alike, the Triangle Brewing Company's "Pub Crawl Training Session" held this past Saturday afternoon at the oaken bar between the fermenting tanks and grain stores at their brewhouse was an oasis of entertainment in a desert tempered city-scape of warehouses and silence. The Twains need only jump off a slow rolling coal car and hop the brewery's low slung wooden fence to be where the wind blew them. Everyone else illegally parked on the sidewalk up the hill from the brewery and followed the succession of Sharpie written posters each one reassuring that beer and live music would be rewarded should they steep deeper into the corridors of the factory grounds. Rounding the corner of the thirty foot tall barn like structure there was rejoicing that the scene was not a mirage. Just beyond the taco truck parked in the gravel drive busily serving a couple hundred sun bathed trainees was the raised concrete loading dock now in rock-show-stage configuration with amps lining the back wall, microphone stands fencing the front, and a lively bunch moving in and out of the brewery sampling its taps.

The event not only show cased a fabulous line up of micro brews brought to life on the very premises but it served as as hot spot for The Pneurotics bass player Mimi McLaughlin's rock and roll birthday party and a stage where micro brew sipping party goers stole a few glimpses into Rat Jackson's soon to be new release. As Rat Jackson geared up and got into their set I was standing next to a few out of towner guests and offered commentary who/what Rat Jackson is. Drawing from the previous impressions that their high energy riff running and drama educed refrain story's made, I began my comments. "These guys bring it. They are indie rock meets rock-a-billy." It was just about then that my ears were tuned to an entirely more articulate presence bouncing off the factory walls...one of Rat Jackson's new songs. In a momentary caesura of commentary I noted that the happy beat scale climbing that defines their character and sells-out PBR was sheered back on this one. A longer more purposeful driving guitar rhythm showed through and the largely underrated lead guitar player Steve Oliva was taking the strings to places a lot of people had never been. The glimpse was enough to build upon the anticipation for their album, re-excite my impressions of who/what Rat Jackson is and look at Steve Oliva a little differently than before.

As the Rat Jackson crew finished up, moved into the crowd, and continued the business of sampling micro brews...The Pneurotics' Chris, Mimi, and Lucifer took the stage to finish things. It was dusk by then and in the haze of contentment I almost missed the distant whistle sounding for me. Skirting edge of the crowd I met the low slung wooden fence and hopped over it...wind blowing softly at my back. --Carrboro Ninja

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