No, not that Tom Hanks: The guys from Phono Select Records (2312 K Street) along with deejays Lord Siracha and Dali Baba can always be counted on to provide plenty of punk, thrash, metal, hardcore and myriad genres for patrons every third Thursday. Their music choices seem to be whatever songs their hearts so desire during what they’ve coined as Blackout. It’s a once-a-month treat with no cover for all those wanting to step away from their iPods and listen to the classic sounds emitted by actual vinyl records. If Bad Brains remains a punk-rock favorite, or Ozzy Osbourne still reigns supreme in your music catalog, then you’ll find there’s a little something for everyone during this event. (The deejays are even known to sneak in some new wave from time to time. Seriously.)
Last Thursday, however, Blackout stopped spinning records and welcomed power-violence band Tom Hanks. Now, the members of this two-piece just formed last November, but Chris Lemos’ deep growls and sludgy guitar chords, paired with Adam Jennings’ aggressively driven strikes on drums, is just what the music scene needs to mix up the punk and indie shows that dominate venues around town. A crowd of 30-plus gathered in front of the small stage and heard just how loud Tom Hanks can get with only its two members. Jennings’ intricate and sporadic percussion skills had dozens in the audience transfixed, as he often would throw his whole body into the music while Lemos’ crazed glares and raw vocal style sent many heads slowly nodding in acceptance. As guitar feedback filled dead space between songs, Jennings’ excitement to perform another could be measured by him bouncing up and down in his seat before beating his crash symbols.
Bear witness to the loud noises of Tom Hanks, joining Rat Damage, So Stressed and Retox on Monday, February 11, at 8:30 p.m. at The Press Club (2030 P Street).
— Steph Rodriguez
All quiet on the Sacto front: If a Wednesday show at a coffeehouse in Sacramento doesn’t build an artist’s mettle, then I fear nothing will. Jennifer O’Connor and Chris Brokaw likely discovered that career-fortifying truth when they played with Brianna Lea Pruett at the Naked Lounge Downtown on January 16. Never mind that O’Connor and Brokaw got some killer promotion that morning via an in-studio set with Beth Ruyak on Capitol Public Radio’s Insight show. Never mind that both are esteemed indie artists (O’Connor was a Matador Records darling before departing to start her own label; Brokaw once played with ’90s-era indie bands Come and Codeine); in the end, the show only drew about a dozen fans. Bummer. Pruett, who opened the night with a handful of acoustic folk songs, gamely rallied the crowd and cheered on the headliners. And, to their credit, both O’Connor and Brokaw played with a glass-half-full attitude. While Brokaw played a quiet set that only hinted at his noisy past—maybe it was the hushed cafe setting?—O’Connor dug deep into her catalog to perform an energetic round featuring tunes from all her albums, including the title track from Here With Me. It’s more than a little disappointing (and an all-too-familiar lament) when Sac fails to show up for a good show, but then again, it’s kind of cool how, when push comes to shove, a tiny caffeine-fueled audience can clap its hands loud enough to sound like a packed venue. Like it’s willing Tinker Bell to live (or play). That, and an extra $20 toward the album (hey, that’s cash in the gas tank) has to count for something, right?
Still alive, still kicking: Longtime local music promoter Jerry Perry has a new gig—this time on TV. Alive & Kicking TV made its debut earlier this week on Access Sacramento with a performance by Walking Spanish (find it on Comcast and Surewest channel 17, on AT&T U-verse channel 99, or online at www.accesssacramento.org). The show is filmed live (the first episode was shot at The Refuge on L Street) and features performances and interviews with local musicians. Each episode is set to air at 11 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. A dozen are scheduled so far. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/AliveAndKickingTV.
— Rachel Leibrock