A guy walks into a deli and asks for a turkey sandwich. Clerk says, “sorry we’re out of turkey.” Guy says, “Ok, I guess I’ll have Ham-den.” -Clay Frankel, Twin Peaks
Tonight’s show felt like the beginning of summer, which I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of when it’s humid and sweltering, but it felt good outside and the energy among the bands and concert goers was palpable. First of all, it was still light out when I pulled into the parking lot and kids were out front enjoying the warm weather, and yes many of them still qualified as kids since many of them were dropped off by their parents, literally in minivans. Personally, I think that is fucking awesome! I sure wish I could have convinced my parents to drive me to Toad’s Place in New Haven to see The Replacements or The Ramones in 1991. Kudos kiddos.
Speaking of…the kids jammed the Ballroom at the Outer Space early to catch a glimpse of the much hyped Northampton all female foursome Dirt Devil. Local label and record store, Redscroll Records are releasing the album and tonight was the “release party” show. Dirt Devil fell somewhere between Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Slits with regard to their stage presence and heavily costumed looks, right down to their stage names: Batty, Candy, L.A., and Lars. Musically there was something intriguing about their song structure and combination of pop riffs and dissonant melodies. While it appears they’re still working out some of the songs live, there was great energy and appreciation from the crowd, with some of those kids I spoke of earlier running up to them before the show eagerly asking, “Hey are you guys Dirt Devil”. I wanted to interject on the improper use of the word “guys” in this instance but instead I kept my mouth shut and eavesdropped on the giddy enthusiasm from both parties.
Ron Gallo was next and from the first few licks of guitar and bass, playfully covering various songs during soundcheck, it was clear the silly was in the house. Surprisingly though, the silly was just a mask for the serious, which like teens being dropped off in minivans at indie shows, I personally think is fucking awesome. So as Ron Gallo playfully engaged the crowd from the outset, particularly a boy heavy area that was sure to start the mosh pit, in only the way bros can, he later addressed them indirectly by addressing us all stating saying “this one goes out to all the women” and launching into “Entitled Man, Keep Your Hands Down Your Pants”. I’m not sure it landed how it should have but baby steps forward are better than any steps backward. Songs like “Why do you have kids?” kept us all on our toes and offering if but a moment of reflection in our sweaty jubilant states. Overall, Ron Gallo’s garage rock infused pop songs were the perfect segway.
The Twin Peaks Dudes (as per their Instagram) took the stage with Clay slurring some sort of “Howyadewinhamden?” while pulling a can of PBR from the inside pocket of his jean jacket, and needless to say, the rest was history. Not to be outdone Cadien Lake James, founder and frontman of the group, sported a Sienfield-esque puffy shirt tucked into what could only be described as Dad jeans with a red and blue zebra striped fishing hat atop his dome. Jackets and accessories were shed and the boys launched into “Butterfly” from their 2016 release Down In Heaven. Ironically, it was during “Stand in the Sand” that while jumping around stage, Clay lost his footing and ended up on his back. To his credit he barely missed a note, even after Cadien playfully pushed his head back to the floor with the bottom of his foot. Clay regained his verticality and the boys slowed things down temporarily with bassist Jack Dolan taking over the singing duties on “Boomers”. The crowd really sprung into action during this track when at times the boys play double time and erupt out of the vocal chorus of “oh oh oh, oh oh oh, oh oh oh”. After two cuts from 2013’s debut album Sunken, the dudes cut in with “Telephone” from their sophomore release the following year entitled Wild Onion. The set raged with “Holding Roses”, “Getting Better”, “Walk to the One You Love”, “Keep It Together”, “Making Breakfast”, “Flavor”, “My Boys”, “Irene”, “Good Lovin’”, “Natural Villain”, and finally “Have You Ever?”. Drenched with sweat, both band and audience alike, the boys returned for a three set encore of including the slow jam “Wanted You” from Down In Heaven followed by a cover of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers classic “Dead Flowers”. After hearing the two tracks back to back, it made me realize that “Wanted You” has a significant Stones vide I didn’t immediately pick up on. Last but not least the dudes left us with a blistering version of the crowd pleasing “Strawberry Smoothie”.
Nothing says summer like a Twin Peaks show. Go see ‘em!