February 23rd, 2008 at 2:16 pm
Parker Gispert and his band, The Whigs, drove 23 hours to make a the Feb. 22 show in Fayetteville. Photos by Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Times
It was busy at George’s Majestic Lounge on Saturday night. Not just busy in the number of patrons, and there were quite a few. No, it was also busy with the number of bands — eight — and that it was for a charity cause, Feed Just One, which added to the number of things going on. It was also a bit busy, you could say, in the type of music going on, from practically all of the performers: chord-heavy, bob-your-head tunes, falling somewhere in the range of alternative country and modern rock.
I had good intentions of watching a bit of all eight sets, but that was proved impossible by the bottlenecked traffic between the two stage areas and getting so caught up in a couple acts I forgot other music was going on.
So, here’s a synopsis of what happened at the Feed Just One benefit concert: a lot of rock happened. Click here to read the full analysis and see more photos.
Matt Jones started things off with an acoustic set for what was already a pretty healthy crowd for 9 p.m. I didn’t catch much of his set, but I know for certain he played “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus.
Jarris, a Fayetteville quartet, played what I believe to be an all-original set. It was rather short — I clocked them at 18 minutes from first chord to last — but they got those up near the stage moving with some uptempo ditties.
Things were getting hectic by this time, and flow between the two stage areas had slowed to the point where one gentlemen waiting behind me was legitimately concerned he was going to make it to the restroom in time. We got through, thankfully, and I caught a few tunes by Will Gunselman and crew, a version of country rock, very low key, a little folky.
Soon, it was back to the main stage for The Whigs, a buzz band with a new, critically acclaimed album in tow. A rather large crowd, the largest for any band, by my estimation, gathered for the set. Enough to get an acknowledgement from lead singer Parker Gispert: “There are a lot of people here, and we didn’t expect it,” he said.
The band from Athens, Ga. should expect crowds wherever they go. Between positive album reviews and television appearances — the band drove 23 hours straight to make it from a Wednesday night performance on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” in New York City to the Friday night gig in Fayetteville — word is getting out.
The band borrowed heavily from “Mission Control,” its three-week-old album, playing such songs as “Like a Vibration,” “Sleep Sunshine,” “Hot Bed” and “Already Young.” Gispert also dropped a few Razorback basketball references, presumably because he wanted to poke fun at a new crowd.
The highlight of night, in my opinion, was the band’s blaring version of “Right Hand On My Heart,” during which Gispert’s snarl reached a fever pitch, recalling a time when Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar introduced America to a type of music, later to be known as alternative country, that was then borrowing from punk rock as much as any other genre.
I heard a few complaints that the set, which spanned 11 songs and about 40 minutes, was too loud, and clearly, The Whigs were the loudest band by some wide margin. One guessed it was a problem with the sound board, that there was too much guitar an not enough vocals. I’m not as convinced, however, as Gispert said in a pre-show interview the band likes its concerts really, really loud.
Jonathan Taylor Rose and The.Radio.Sky would close out the night in the front of George’s. I only caught enough of Rose’s set to know the crowd was thick enough to prevent me from getting close enough for good photos.
A Good Fight
Back to the main stage it was, where local modern rockers A Good Fight would take over for The Whigs. It was my second time to see them perform. The band seems to be growing tighter, but one thing will never change: lead singer Eddie Love may have the most expressive face in rock ’n’ roll. Anywhere.
The band played a lengthy, solid set, punctuated by their original tunes. The band released an EP two weeks ago, and several of the songs on that record, including “Déjà Vu In A Suitcase” and “The History” seemed to draw the largest response. In addition to a medley of cover tunes that went from AC/DC to the Beastie Boys to Sublime, the band also debuted a new track, “A New Start,” one prepared in the past two weeks.
They closed the night with “The Drama” and “Town. House. Fire.,” concluding a setlist that consumed the better part of an hour.
And when the guitars stopped ringing, it ended four hours of continuous rock, a collection of local talent and a national up-and-comer. Not a bad Friday night, if you ask the blog.