Alt-Nation: I Wish I Could Have Told You, Dave

That’s life… as the song goes, so let’s start with the life of my friend David Hemingway. Dave is a musician who has fought for his life so courageously for the past few years against cancer. Unfortunately, sometimes courage is not enough when it comes to cancer. Dave passed away on the morning of September 13 after suffering in terrible pain. One thing I always liked about Dave as a musician was there was never any middle ground. He played drums in both Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons and Woozy. The former mines the roots of rock ‘n’ roll and country while the latter went for a psychedelic freak-out space-metal trip. Pushing it to extremes in any direction is a thing I’ve always admired in him, but it just really sucks that I’ll never get to tell Dave that now. Dave also played drums for years in Sasquatch & The Sick-A-Billys. My thoughts are with Dave’s family, friends and all he touched.

The Ghost Wolves

I’m particularly stoked for this show headlined by The Ghost Wolves from Texas, but featuring strong local support. The Ghost Wolves are a duo with a psychedelic swamp garage stomp vibe. They come at you with tunes with names like “Shotgun Pistol Grip” and “Baby Fang Thang” on last year’s Man, Woman, Beast. The defiant “Gonna Live” is probably my favorite tune on the album. I’m really looking forward to catching Blackletter and Deadlands on this bill – I’ve heard recordings from both that I really enjoyed.

The Ghost Wolves, Blackletter, The Dead L.A. and Deadlands will rock Firehouse 13 on September 17.

The Red Pennys – Takin’ Flight (Small Scale Records)

The Red Pennys debut CD Takin’ Flight takes the listener on a bus tour through the origins of rock ‘n’ roll. The Red Pennys strip things down to the bone, mixing rockabilly and honky tonk to provide a foot-stomping thump. “Where The Rio De Rosa Flows” just beckons one to grab a partner and hit the dance floor. On “Hole Shot,” The Red Pennys kick up some serious dust while singer/guitarist Gregg Figliozzi sings about slamming some drinks and shooting pool. Another standout is the instrumental and appropriately named “Ghost Train,” where the haunting is done by guest Don Dupre’s trumpet that is down a little in the mix that provides the spooks. “Forever Blue” meshes rockabilly with Chuck Berry style songwriting for the win. My favorite tune is the closing “Cabin Fever” that has a ’50s honky tonk vibe. The song is so beautiful that whenever it comes on, I envision myself sitting on a porch with a glass of iced tea with the tune cranking out of an old radio sometime in yesteryear. On Takin’ Flight, The Red Pennys’ sound is captured, but there is nothing like catching them live. Check them out at The Met Café opening for the always excellent Mallett Brothers and forever unpredictable Sasquatch and The Sick-A-Billys.

The Red Pennys and Sasquatch & The Sick-A-Billys will be opening for The Mallett Brothers at The Met Café on September 18.

The Turbo AC’s

The Turbo AC’s always reminded of a mix of Cheap Trick and Ramones for their knack to just craft some of the catchiest hard rock songs.  I caught them everywhere from the old Green Room to CBGB. Both are no longer here but 19 years strong, The Turbo AC’s are still raging. Guitarist Mike O’Donnell from The Turbo AC’s and The Skinny Millionaires shared this about the current happenings in the world of The Turbo AC’s – “The latest record is Kill Everyone, and there’s a new one in the works. Find the videos on YouTube, buy the records on iTunes or anywhere else, or go to turboacs.com for merch, vinyl and all kinds of cool shit.

“We occasionally do acoustic stuff. We played a whole Ramones album front to back acoustically at The Ramones Museum in Berlin, which was really awesome. And when all our gear got destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, we did an acoustic tour with Lenny Lashley from Darkbuster, which was also really fun. Usually we bring the rock. That’s what we do, but we have the ability to do acoustic shows when necessary. So we’re bringing the rock. We’re heading out with opening band Two Man Advantage, who are a hockey-themed punk band with a really cool stage show. But on September 24, the tour starts at The Parlor in Newport with just us and locals, and all around awesome guys We Own Land and The Atlantic Thrills.”

There will be more with Mike online so keep an eye on motifri.com for an exclusive web content interview and get your ass to the show!

The Turbo AC’s, We Own the Land, and Atlantic Thrills will rock The Parlor in Newport on September 24.

Kansas

Not going to lie, but writing about a ’70s arena band like Kansas feels like I’ve reached new heights in my career as a journalist. They wrote “Carry On My Wayward Son,” which is one of those ’70s nuggets that there isn’t really and roadmap to or nothing after. It is super catchy, quasi-disturbing and hyper-infectious at the same time. Don’t think I can drink enough tequila at Mexico up the street before the show to fully appreciate when Kansas launch into “Dust in the Wind,” but since that is all we are … I’m up for the challenge.

Kansas will bring the thunder to Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on September 25.

Congratulations to Big Papi on 500 homeruns!

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com

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