The other night I was told, that since I have never left the country I know nothing about what constitutes good taste. I was also told that I was a loser for listening to Pavement. With that being said, I went to Baltimore on Saturday to see a band, who clearly must be shitty, and hung out with a bunch of other losers.
The first two bands, Mr Moccasin and Slow Jerks, are both local products. I only heard two songs from Mr Moccasin, but between that and what I heard on their Myspace, they sounded alright. People, who were there and had seen this band before, said that the group sounded better than they had in the past. I had tried listening to Slow Jerks earlier in the day, but my internet research skills failed me and I found nothing. It’s entirely possible that this was by design, though. Seeing these dudes live, I got the impression that perhaps they wanted to do everything DIY and gradually work their way up. If that’s the case, then props are in order.
The Axemen are from New Zealand, and apparently they formed back in 1981 as a means of protesting the fact that some South African rugby team was playing matches in New Zealand which violated an agreement of some sort. They were pretty tight live, and it wasn’t until the end of the set that I realized that my head had been bobbing the entire time.
This may have been a nervous reaction because early on in the set it occurred to me that the girl from Times New Viking was standing next to me. All the members of the band were in my general vicinity, in fact, and as a result I drank accordingly.
What struck me the most about The Axemen was how they came across as a band with the best of intentions.
It all just seemed so honest. They brought the one dude [Adam Elliot] from Times New Viking up on stage to do a song at one point, and that was pretty rad.
Towards the end, the guitarist took his shirt off and wiped the brow of the lead singer. The best of intentions. The whole set was a good time, and the forty people in attendance all seemed to dig it.
Times New Viking are quite possibly the loudest band that I listen to, and I went to this show to see how loud it could get. It was quite loud, and this was accentuated by the fact that the Talking Head is about the size of a hallway and the only difference between the club and an actual hallway is the fact that the Talking Head has a bathroom.
I had done some preliminary research about what TNV was like live, but all I found was that they get loud and that the drummer talks too much. Looking back, the drummer didn’t say a whole lot once the set got underway so maybe the internets was wrong about that.
TNV might be better live than they are on record.
They are a band of sounds, and that’s awesome on it’s own, but in concert the melodies are much more apparent. I do have to admit that I don’t own the latest record, and it’s entirely possible that they were just playing songs off of it and it’s also quite possible that the new disc is slightly more hi-fi than previous albums. I know for a fact that didn’t play all new songs because I recognized several and also because at one point they said, “Now, we’re going to play some old songs.”
Everyone was into it. There was more moving around at this show then at anything else I’ve seen all year, for the most part.
There was this one girl, and she seemed really tapped into the whole thing. She swayed and spun her way through every song. I think she had her eyes closed, but it didn’t really matter because the way she was dancing it was like an act of surrender. It was like what Nietzsche had described. She was on the edge of the proverbial cliff, but instead of being frightened or concerned, she was reveling in the chaos.
Loving every minute of it, and dancing like it would never stop. It’s how I generally feel on the inside, but since I’m such an uncouth deadbeat unfit for the public, it’s better for me to just keep my head down and try not to piss anyone off.
$7.00 / Day of Show Price: $10.00 General Admission
Royal Bangs | 10:00 PM http://www.myspace.com/royalbangs
Insound Staff Pick – 2008! Royal Bangs are a five-piece rock band from Knoxville, Tennessee. We Breed Champions is the band’s first full-length offering on Audio Eagle Records. Angular, dueling guitar melodies dance around manic, start-stop rhythms and are crowned by the earnest, pushed-to-the-breaking-point vocals of frontman Ryan Schaeffer. Or whatever. They have been compared to Modest Mouse, TV on the Radio, Architecture in Helsinki, etc, etc.
The Axemen | 11:00 PM http://www.myspace.com/nemexa
The Axemen is a New Zealand band formed around 1981 in protest against the South African Springbok rugby team tour of New Zealand, a tour which created great controversy, especially as was in contradiction to New Zealand’s obligations under the Gleneagles Agreement.
The Axemen played in Chch Cathedral 1981 in response to the Springbok tour.
They also played at the protests for homosexual law reform in 1983, with member Little Stevie McCabe being severely beaten up in the Cathedral Square, Christchurch, toilets.
The Axemen’s founding members, Bob Brannigan, Little Stevie McCabe and Stu Kawowski had played in various bands, apart and together, in the South Island cities of Christchurch and Dunedin, but cohesed in reaction to Sprinkbok rugby tour.
Before Bob Brannigan and Steve McCabe met, Steve was playing in a two-piece band at Cashmere High School called The Gorillas with Peter Rees, evolving comix maestro and classical guitarist.
Brannigan and McCabe met through a mutual friend and played gigs in Christchurch and Dunedin under many names including The Whining Plums, Hey, We’re Wolves and The Twins in the early ’80s. It was at a Twins gig at the notorious Empire Tavern in Dunedin in 1983 where Stu Kawowski was first unable to control himself and leapt on stage to commandeer the bongoes, instantly adding another dimension to the unit.
Art School Photography graduate, photography guru, filmmaker, artist  , promotional maverick and explosives expert Kawowski was playing drums with Above Ground, Bill Direen’s band at the time he met the other members of the Axemen and soon ’joined’ the Axemen as a permanent fixture.
Brannigan, McCabe and Kawowski remain to this day the ’core’ of the Axemen, however many New Zealand musicians played with them over the years as guest / transient / semi-permanent members, making their influence and the influences they assimilated (like the borg) an important breeding ground and virtual swap-meet of ideas and influence in Kiwi music circles.
In February 2009, US record label Siltbreeze re-released the Axemen’s 1984 protest album :Big Cheap Motel”  on 12″ vinyl. Originally the album was released as a cassette packaged in a small bubble-sleeve with a straw, mimicking the milk drink “Big M” that the album was aimed at. The Axemen were invited to play at Christchurch’s “Summertimes” Festival in January 1984, a public music stage set up in Hagley Park. The band was shocked by the large-scale sexist “Big M” advertising surrounding the main stage, and decided to write a suite of protest songs about how the Christchurch City Council had “sold out” to the “Big M” sexist marketing. The Axemen recorded the concert, as well as studio versions of their songs and released a 45 min cassette entitled, “Big Cheap Motel”
Times New Viking | 12:00 PM http://www.myspace.com/timesnewviking
Much like ’90s indie darlings Guided By Voices, Times New Viking are a noisy, lo-fi indie rock band from Ohio who made the leap from the long-running indie Siltbreeze Records to the higher profile Matador label.
Unlike Guided By Voices, whose hissy, distortion-heavy sound masked a knack for traditional ’60s-influenced pop hooks and surreal lyrical wordplay, this Columbus trio favor a more purely noisy and punk derived sound and minimalist, deliberately repetitive lyrics.
Times New Viking (the band name an obscure and meaningless pun on the name of the popular typeface Times New Roman) formed in Columbus in 2004, when art school students Adam Elliott, Beth Murphy and Jared Phillips spontaneously decided to form a band while hanging out in a local rock club.
Murphy and Phillips, who had no musical training between them, took over keyboards and guitar respectively, while the marginally more skilled Elliott played drums. (Elliott and Murphy both sing, often together though rarely in harmony.)
Debut album Dig Yourself was released on Siltbreeze in 2005, followed by Times New Viking Present the Paisley Reich in 2007. (The CD version of this album includes the six tracks from a pair of limited edition vinyl-only EPs released prior to the album.) Generally approving reviews and regular touring, including a stint opening for Yo La Tengo and performances at indie cred-builder festivals Coachella and SXSW, raised the band’s profile, and they made the jump from Siltbreeze to Matador for 2008’s Rip It Off, 16 breathless tracks in less than 31 minutes produced by Ohio noise-rock godfather Mike Hummel of Mike Rep and the Quotas.
The Hi Tone was established in 1998 and quickly became one of Memphis’ premiere music venues.
Under new ownership in April of 2002, the Hi Tone has re-dedicated itself to bring Memphians and mid-southerners the best national and local acts from a wide variety of music genres.The Hi-Tone has been voted #1 Place to See Live Music six times since 1998 by the Memphis Flyer’s “Best of Memphis” public polls.
The Hi-Tone brings more original live music to the city than most all other venues combined. The house produces over 300 shows per year with nearly 1000 sets per year.
Conveniently located in the heart of midtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the Hi Tone offers music fans a unique experience with world-class musical talent.
We offer a small menu of great bar food including burgers and appetizers for your night-time cravings. See the Menu page for more information.
You could think of The Axemen as New Zealand’s answer to The Dead Kennedys. The reckless, shattered lo-fi art punk band formed in Dunedin in 1981 in protest of then-apartheid South Africa’s Springboks rugby team tour of the islands, and has raged ever since. Stu Kawowski, Bob Brannigan and Little Stevie McCabe have shuffled through a panoply of guest members over the years, and the result is a catalog that’s essentially a petri dish of virulent, smashed-up angst. Philly label Siltbreeze has recently re-released, in vinyl-only pressings of 500, two of the band’s early classics — Big Cheap Motel (an impromptu festival set protesting the fest sponsor’s sexist advertising) and the mammoth double album Scary! Pt. III. Consider this a statement show for resurgent Siltbreeze impresario T.J. Lax, who was not only responsible for discovering headliners Times New Viking (pictured) but more than likely had a hand in luring Kiwi expats The Mad Scene down from NYC for the evening.
Sun., Nov. 15, 8 p.m., $10, with The Mad Scene and U.S. Girls, Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 866-468-7619, kungfunecktie.com.
Axemen do TNV’s “Sick ‘n tyred” and their “Rocks In My Heart” tune done to death by Times Neu Vikin’ – wicked 7” (ONLY AVAILABLE AT GIGS) and a limited eedition of 350 discs – each one individually enhanced by the artist band members. Ultra collectable sh*t. Check out some evidence below. See you at the NY show.
Playing in Elvis’s old dojo was always gonna be a tall order. For a bunch of middle-class kiwis with a passion for rock’n’roll, Memphis is a trigger-word for what can be so right and also so wrong in the genre – the full spectrum of green lily-livered-nigger-music-lovin southern boy with just the right amount mixture of sass, sasparilla, and god-given ass and hips.
Thankfully it was an awesome gig and elvis even made an appearance and winked at me, he dug it i know…
He kissed me – and it felt like a punch….
“i gotta say i was “
with your lastest show in the US.
I was expecting the unexpected, with the proviso that i was forewarned that the act was going to be unpredictable and the attitude factor would play a good part in what would eventuate into the axemen’s set, very much a reflection of the local conditions and atmosphere, once we can establish a base anywhere
We have been privileged enough to sample some of the best goddam nuts the US has to offer, and the boys digged em so much they wrote a song about it.
‘Nutsack’ has become the trailblazing anthem for the axemen’s debut us tour with its unguarded gargantuan thrust, a melody worthy of methusela for its longevity properties, the lyrics reminding one of Baez in her Dylanesque – Poe phase, plus a backbeat Ringo would kill for, the uncompromising one-note guitar overlayin the verses topped off with the cream on the pudding, the triple-X chorus of Brannigan, Stojanovic & McCabe every 8 bars or so.
“It shall be the killer single in 2010” – Nostradamus