Hunx and His Punx at the hi-dive, 5/7/11
Tom Murphy Hunx and His Punx
Lust-Cats of the Gutters • Thee Goochi Boiz • Shannon and the Clams
05.07.11 | hi-dive
Almost literally straight off of a roughly sixteen-day of tour, Lust-Cats of the Gutters would have been excused for showing some of that fatigue in its set. But, instead, Alex Edgeworth and Robin Edwards played with the raw verve they always seem to be able to bring to each show. If anything, the tour seems to have honed the act's knack for making an unfettered expression of unfiltered emotions -- joy, frustration, desperation, affection -- seem like a necessary catharsis.
Tom Murphy Lust-Cats of the Gutters
Starting off with "You're the One I Want," Thee Goochi Boiz played one of its most solid, together sets. Not that this band really aims for technical perfection so much as it plays its songs with a youthful exuberance like the early Ramones (or later Ramones, for that matter). The combination of vulnerability and bemused defiance has always set this group apart from yet another group of yobs who have discovered the joys of garage rock combined with punk's disregard for convention.
Tom Murphy Thee Goochi Boiz
At the end of the set, the bandmembers debated among themselves about playing another song given there was ample time but decided not to. An admirable decision, not because it wouldn't have been a treat to see hear another song, but because too many bands succumb to that temptation.
If you talked to anyone who saw Shannon and the Clams the last couple of times the band played Denver, you only heard people talk about how great they were. Well, the rumors are true. The band's seemingly simple melodies were informed by an impressive musicianship all around. The drummer, for instance, knocked out an insistent tribal beat while also creating shimmering textures with snare and cymbals and numerous other percussive tricks - providing not just a rhythm for the songs, but also an ambience that a lot of drummers wouldn't try.
Tom Murphy Shannon and the Clams
Cody Blanchard's upper-register croon served as an interesting counterpoint to Shannon Shaw's throaty vocals. But with Shaw, it went beyond that. Her power and versatility as a singer was impressive as she effortlessly created gutsy, gritty and sweet-sounding vocal lines with a rare ability to channel her passionate delivery in a conventionally musical, as well as emotional, way.
Shaw's voice is classically good but used in a way that makes you really feel these songs in a deep way. The band got a lot of people in the audience to dance, and you don't see much of that in Denver these days, so the Clams must have had something special in the mix. Was the music retro? Vintage? None of these considerations matter when the band is delivering music that is so lively and performed with conviction.