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Warbly Jets With James Allen Spirit, The Relationship And Frankie & the Witch Fingers At The Satellite, Monday January 23rd 2017


Sam Shea of Warbly Jets


Warbly Jets’ residency last Monday night at the Satellite got very crowded, there were four bands playing and it got very crazy for a Monday night, as I stayed till the end and went to bed way too late for a weekday night… but it was worth it, and I didn’t regret a minute because the last band which played, Frankie & the Witch Fingers, was simply brain melting.

James Allen Spirit opened the long night with an explosive and upbeat pop rock set, they were loud and had copious riffs surfed by frontman Tyler Godfrey’s nasal voice and his grunge look. Many of their psych-pop songs were bathing in ether before ending in a lot of fuzz and reverb accompanied by some real hair banging. Of course, nobody in the band is named James Allen, but a bit of mystery is always good for rock and roll.

I thought a lot of people would be at the Satellite to see the Relationship, and if the crowd got suddenly thicker for their set, it didn’t thin up at all during Warby Jets’ set, which means these guys are certainly stars-in-the-making …. But going back to the Relationship, since it is the solo project of Weezer’s Brian Bell, who has also teamed up with Jon LaRue, Albert Hammond Jr.’s songwriting partner, I, of course, expected a lot of people. First of all you have to know that the music had little to do with either Weezer or the Strokes, it was closer to a comfortable 70’s sound, Beatles-que at times, yes much more Beatles-que than I would have ever expected, with interesting vintage pop melodies and a sort of delivery from Bell, which could have been right between John Lennon, Lou Reed and…. insert your favorite 60’s-70’s singer here. They played with a lot of dynamism and crunchy guitars, always going for a warm power-pop vibe rather than a more violent rock side, and when I think about it now, I may have heard a light Weezer influence here and there… never strong enough to make me think that Rivers Cuomo was going to jump on stage, nothing like that at all, but it is always a back-of-the-brain-distraction when someone belongs to a famous band. The Relationship will release another full-length album this year, so expect more of that familiar British invasion vibe and hooky songs.

It was already past 11 pm and it was time for Warbly Jets, who took a long time to prepare a dramatic entrance, with a giant curtain revealing a complete mise-en-scene on stage with several TV sets, a large American Flag, fog machines and some pre-song spoken words about the atomic bomb. They certainly had put a lot of thoughts behind all this and there was a lot of drama and plenty of action all set long, while their stormy music was a mix of noisy pop, and hard rock. The quartet didn’t let us breathe one minute, as frontman-singer-guitarist Samuel Shea was mostly responsible of the stage mayhem, acting like a real rock star, almost invisible because the harsh and violent lightning, which was occasionally revealing a sort of young Jim Morrison look when the light was lightening his angelic face. His delivery, buried but still piercing their loud arena-potential sound, was partly morose, partly aggressive, with reminiscence of Oasis and Liam Gallagher’s vocals,… it may be strange to say that after this comparison, but certain songs had shades of Tame Impala’s dreamy psychedelia in their calmer and more ethereal moments, which were soon leading to a few explosive stage fights and truly hard rocking moments. They owned the place and have had for the whole month of January, but they still have one Monday left, which means you still have one chance to catch the formidable action live, whether Shea rolls his back on stage or jumps in the middle of the energized crowd… I don’t know if they are rock stars in the making, but they are working very hard on it, and it feels natural.

I know it was past midnight and a Monday night, but people knew about the goodness of Frankie & the Witch Fingers, because there was still a large crowd to watch the local guitar band deliver a furiously mad set. They sometimes reminded me about Thee Oh Sees – Dylan Sizemore holds his guitar as high as John Dwyer does – all fuzzed out all the time, getting in trance throughout their eccentric but truly enjoyable punk psychedelia, getting loud and wild with many eccentric detours, going through a song in a very manic way. They played a super energized psychedelic garage-rock, like possessed by a demon, shaking head and hair, running after or running away something, but never catching the fire which seemed to be burning their guitar or their pants, melting faces and brains at the same time, putting everyone on a very euphoric dance floor. Not a bad way to start Tuesday morning.

More pictures here


James Allan Spirit


The Relationship


Warbly Jets


Frankie and the Witch Fingers

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