Why country music secretly rules

The differences between country-music fans and rock-music fans are myriad, but perhaps the best and most obvious indicator is their attire. Rock fans’ ironic T-shirts are replaced by country fans’ tailored, pressed button-up shirts. Ratty, rumbled jeans by new, pressed blue jeans. Chuck Taylors by cowboy boots. Carefully tousled hair by a broad-brimmed hat, preferably black.

Of course, there’s much more to liking country music than that. For one thing, country fans can dance. I don’t mean the detached head bob that passes for dancing at most rock clubs, but real dancing. Case in point: last week’s live-band, country-music karaoke show at the Valencia Club in Penryn (at the corner of Taylor Road and Penryn Road). It quite simply kicked ass in ways that few live rock shows ever do.

Picture a man who looks one step away from the grave: Tall, thin as a skeleton and slightly hunched, as if the years have been hard. A skewed black cap on his head. Stringy hair and a drooping handlebar mustache. He mumbles something to the band. When the first notes of the song start up, his metamorphosis is immediate and absolute. His eyes brighten, his mouth curls up a smile, his back straightens, and he nods once before his booming, beautiful baritone intones: “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl.”

Audience members spin out across the dance floor. When the song at last ends, several members of the audience stand in a brief but enthusiastic ovation while the bar patrons hoot and holler in appreciation.

The shocking news is that pretty much everyone I heard sing that night was good, the audience was dressed up and dancing, and everyone—everyone—looked to be having a good time. Worth the drive out to Penryn? You’re damn right it is.

In other good news, local prog-metal maniacs Giant Squid have just signed a three-album deal with The End Records, home of such legendary metal bands such as Crisis, Peccatum, the Gathering and Ulver. The first release will be a reissue of the band’s debut album, Metridium Field, which will be completely remixed by Billy Anderson (who’s worked with Mr. Bungle, Neurosis and Swans). The follow-up will be a longer, more epic version of the currently circulating Monster in the Creek EP. Check the band out live on September 23 at Old Ironsides. It’s good enough to melt your brain.

If that’s not enough, Deconstruct guitarist Joe Fraulob has joined the ranks of Danzig. In a recent press release, Camp Danzig announced, “Joe was the man for the job, hands down. The fans are gonna be blown away by this incredible talent.” Fraulob’s tenure with the band starts with the Blackest of the Black tour, which sadly boasts no Sacramento dates. Incidentally, Fraulob will continue to play in Deconstruct as that band gears up for a tour later in the year.

Lastly, a big cat-like yowl of apology for somehow neglecting to inform my readers of the hurricane-relief benefit show put together by Alive & Kicking at Old Ironsides on Thursday, September 22. (Let’s hope you’re reading this early in the week!) The show is not to be missed. In addition to the regular crew of local bands, the bill features Cake’s John McCrea in a rare solo performance.