If it’s on the Internet, it must be true. Right?
Whoops, dreams: Too often when a band breaks out overalls and a stand-up bass to bust through chestnuts like “Working Man Blues,” it just feels like kitschy musical dress-up. But when the Whispering Chingaderos and the Poplollys took to a makeshift stage in a shady Curtis Park backyard over the weekend to crank out classic country, folk and blues, it wasn’t about playing make-believe. The bands were on a bona fide mission: to raise money for the sixth annual Western Lore Preservation Society Lootenanny.
The WLPS is a collection of do-it-yourself enthusiasts who, roughly 15 years ago, adopted a ghost town perched off a highway in the middle of Nowhere, Nevada. The long-abandoned township is little more than a few ramshackle buildings, but preserving its history is an ongoing project that involves hammers, nails, and plenty of boozin’ and tunes.
Now, the WLPS has temporarily shifted the efforts away from its own creaky settlement to help save the Long Branch Saloon. The watering hole, built in 1911 in Luning, Nev., enjoyed a revival after a local family purchased it in the early ’70s. The owner died a few years ago, however, and his daughter, suffering from various medical ailments and economic hardship, has been unable to manage the saloon’s upkeep. Enter the WLPS, whose members plan to restore the building so it may operate as a viable business.
“We realized if we took the initiative we could preserve a real piece of history,” explained WLPS member Tim White.
And so, on this balmy Saturday night, as auctioneers peddled wares, the bands sauntered through spirited sets of music imbued with vintage instruments and a laid-back feel. The Whispering Chingaderos, led by Mike Blanchard, cranked out a cheerfully chaotic set, and the Poplollys, anchored by husband-and-wife Scotty and Sasha Prawalsky, played through a handful of rowdy toe tappers. Nothing was too polished, and it’s this rough-hewn sensibility that gives both bands their genuine charm.
In the hands of most musicians these songs would be slickly retro, but as the twangy chords and bass slaps and whoops rose into the Sacramento summer sky and drifted noisily toward the Nevada desert, the sound was as real as it gets. (Rachel Leibrock)
Lie to me: Rumors, jokes-turned-serious and Bush administration-esque disinformation spread like germs at a preschool Play-Doh convention during pop-punk trio the Bananas’ Saturday night set at Javalounge. And the lies worked: They made the show quite melodramatic.
Rumor No. 1: This would be Javalounge’s last show ever.
Yes, gossip that Javalounge would shut its doors forever after Saturday’s show swirled online this past weekend. Thankfully, though, this was a load of bad Yuban: Javalounge co-owner Niki Kangas confirmed that the venerable coffeehouse/venue is merely “restructuring,” and will open back up on Friday, June 5, for an 8 p.m. punk show.
Rumor No. 2: This would be Bananas’—Mike R. Mike on vocals/guitar, Marie D. on bass, Scott Miller on drums—final show ever.
A bunch of yellow lies. But it was hard to tell otherwise; Bananas repeatedly joked that this was indeed their last gig and played their asses off accordingly. And after almost an hour, Bananas finally took a break, only to have the crowd—still rapt with attention—chant, “One more song, one more song.”
This is when I finally left. Out front, you still could hear the crowd asking for more. Maybe the show went on all night? (Nick Miller)
Name that Apple hook: If I hear another person say, “Oh, the Submarines? They have that song on the new Apple 3G commercial,” I’m going to punch myself. Not to rip, but come on: Without vocals, that sample of “You, Me and the Bourgeoisie” is the most generic, trendy-ass 30 seconds on TV.
That said, the Submarines delivered an awe-inspiring performance to a crowd of slack-jawed college kids at UC Davis last Wednesday night. Los Angeles’ Red Cortez opened, jamming out a set to end all sets. Post-punk was the gospel, and frontman Harley Prechtel Cortez was John Belushi. The vein in his neck was throbbing so hard, I thought it was going to explode and cover us all in rich, creamy, bloody godliness. Plus, the bassist gave me props on my Clash T-shirt, and nothing gets me more hyped than a little performer-audience validation. (Derek Nielsen)
Get it right: Dub music was obviously too much for me, as there were mistakes in last week’s Dub Defender blurb. Corrections: DJ Whores deejays for Dub Defender, and Young Aundee (not Justin DeHart) is one-third of the genius behind their rad live set. (N.M.)