J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - alternate Friday mornings 10 AM - 12 PM EST at 90.9 FM!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Finks / Warbomb / Hide and Seek - The Garage, Winston-Salem - 4th February 2005

Sometimes I'm a bit jealous of Winston-Salem, and no, I don't mean 'cos of the Dell plant. (Although I still shake my fist at the Forsyth Co. sign every time I pass it. And that huge "Welcome Dell" billboard that's up on Bus. 40 now.) They are slowly managing what Greensboro has been struggling to do: establish a good, small-to-mid-size venue community. Greensboro's doing alright with Ace's Basement picking up some of the slack that has been laying around for years, but with the Garage, the Wherehouse and so forth, Winston-Salem is, dare I say it, quite damn cool.

And so I found myself sallying forth to the twin cities (can I say that?) to the Garage to see the Finks' cd release show. It was an interesting situation given that a) the Finks prior release, Exit the Planet, was #25 on my Top 25 albums of 2004 show and b) I'd never seen them live before. Expectations were high, especially given the excellent track "Wake Up" from their new album that I've played the last two weeks on the show.

Opening the show was a trio of high school students from the area called Hide and Seek. The two immediate comparisons that leapt to mind while watching them were the now-defunct XBXRX and Need New Body. Perhaps the largest reason those bands come to mind is the sometimes seeming non-sequitir nature of their music. Short, bouncy, percussive and loud. Mainly comprised of a keyboard/synthesizer, drums, random, mono-note trumpet blasts and shouted vocals, I would be a liar to say they weren't entertaining and enjoyable. I would also be lying to say I, personally, would ever put this in my cd player. The overall experience gets over best in a live setting and I have no idea what a recording of them would do to me.

Next was Warbomb. (Full disclosure: Adam Thorne of Warbomb is an ex-WQFS DJ and Manager and a friend of mine.) This marks the second time I've seen Warbomb, though the first time was their very first show and to be honest I wasn't impressed at the time. I don't even really remember it much. Aside from the fact that they sounded nothing like what they did last night. Warbomb is very, very good. The standard guitar/bass/drums set up is used magnificently to channel a very vintage sound of country, mod, surf-rock and early rock and roll. However: Is Warbomb a throwback? Yes and no. Their sound is certainly nothing new under the sun, but as has been the case with relevant rock and roll over the past 20 years, you don't have to be new so much as you have to have a new feel to yourself. At this, Warbomb succeeds. They are a beautifuly, jangly and uplifting sight for sore eyes.

Finally came the Finks. I talked in the review of Exit the Planet for the Top 25 list of the comparisons of the Finks to the band X. Seeing them live is the obvious touchstone for this: punchy male and female vocals that trade and wrap around eachother; chugging, start-stop, blues-fed guitar riffs; detached cool. Even down to the movements of the band members - though partially hobbled for the time being, singer Liz Simmons moves with a mesmerising, robotic/mechanical style that would actually be creepy if it were not for the impish grin that often is on her face.

The Finks' new album, More Songs about Robots and Black Things, is a step forward no doubt. What is even more wild is the cohesive feel you get when listening to the entire album. There is nary a mis-step. Their live show carries over the laser-beam drive of the records and puts it over the top. And they certainly don't lose points for incorporating an accordion into their music.

The Finks are amazing and if their recorded music appeals to you at all, then their live show most certainly will. Cities are lucky to have bands like this come through on tour, let alone reside there. Count ourselves among the lucky.

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