Goodmornings’ good night

The following is a message from Brutus at the National Clueless Rock Critic Foundation:

Woof! Woof woof! (Translation: We were in a building. It looked like a nightclub.)

Woof! Woof! (There were four guys playing onstage.)

Woof woof! (There weren’t many people in the audience.)

Woof woof! Woof! (It was pretty sad for a Thursday night, because the bands were quite good.)

Grrr. Woof! (I’d probably call you readers “douche bags” for not showing up like I did, but I don’t know what a douche bag is, because I’m a dog.)

OK, already. Comedy time is over, and apparently it’s time to get serious. Local band Goodmornings kicked down a couple of decent sets of Americana-tinged rock the other night at the Blue Lamp, both preceding the evening’s headliner, Spider Silk Dress. First, the band backed the opening act, singer-songwriter Dustin Aaron, who began with a couple of solo tunes. His second song was a rather swell Nick Drake-like number with fingerpicked guitar. Aaron’s singing voice was warm and distinctive, a point made by Deathray frontman and local record producer Dana Gumbiner from an adjacent barstool.

After that, the band joined him: Goodmornings frontman Jim Davis on bass, with Ben Hoke on guitar and Todd Lewis on drums. The ensuing noise from the bandstand occasionally sounded like countless Midwestern bar bands swinging for the fences, and major-label deals, at afternoon parties during the annual South by Southwest music fest in Austin, Texas. More often, it came off like a local-bred version of a bourbon-marinated knockoff of the Rolling Stones, circa 1969. Imagine the Replacements trading shots with the Gin Blossoms. Aaron’s songs with the band were pretty much Americana rock—the one I can recall, the one a few people in the back of the room were singing along to, was something about “California through a windshield.”

When Goodmornings returned after a break for their own set, Davis had switched to guitar, and Gumbiner stepped onstage to play bass. While Davis’ voice wasn’t as noteworthy as Aaron’s, it fit better with what the band was doing—playing a particular kind of rock ’n’ roll that, intermittently, struck a perfect balance between machine-like propulsion and complete disarray, like the music was flying apart and colliding together at the same time. And Hoke’s Mick Taylor-style guitar parts, tentative behind Aaron, were more assertive when backing Davis’ vocals.

The band played songs from its forthcoming album, Black Gold, Texas Gold, which Gumbiner recorded at Deathray’s Brighton Sound Studios. If that album’s as good as the tunes Goodmornings played, it oughta be a real treat. And you can catch the band at Old Ironsides this Saturday, April 22, opening for Golden Shoulders at that combo’s CD-release party, with the Miles also on the bill.

One of Gumbiner’s other recording projects stopped by the show to watch: Local guitar icon Mike Farrell has finished one track for a solo album at Brighton. Considering the many years Farrell has dedicated to playing in everybody else’s bands, it’s about time he made his own record.