Generally the last week of the month is used to look back and reflect on a Legendary Artist. We revisit their material; shower them with love, and all that happy crap. This week wasn’t feeling it though. I really wasn’t. Too much of my time is spent listening to people tell stories about bands that they knew back in the day and how music today is just ripping off their stuff. Who cares man? As time goes on, I find myself having less and less patience for people who feel the need to tell you how much better things “used to be”. Great dude, I’m so glad it used to be rad. That doesn’t mean you just give up and continually look back. You’ve got to keep your head up. For example, rap music used to be great. Used to be. That doesn’t mean I gave up on the genre. I keep slogging through. Looking for that next great record. I didn’t give up on the entire genre after hearing Wiz Kalifa. You can’t let one jackass ruin everything for you. So instead of looking back this week, I want to highlight a new artist that I found this past Sunday and don’t want to sit on for a week.
I have a bad habit of showing up too early to things. I’ve been trying to break that habit recently. It hasn’t been working out really. I found myself showing too late, or missing events entirely. I couldn’t find that sweet spot. So this past Sunday I arrived at a Deer Tick show brutally early. It’s one thing when you are along, but this time I had brought with me a group of friends. They weren’t pumped. The first opener hadn’t even gone on yet, and it was looking like there would be a full two hours prior to Tick taking the stage. This is disconcerting for several reasons, the first of those being the fact that PBR Tall Boys cost $9. You can do a fair amount of beer drinking during a Tick show. In fact it’s encouraged. The second reason being, openers generally are not what you are hoping for. This time was no different. First up, The Shrills.
Most of The Shrills took the stage in full-face paint; the lead singer wore a mask. They spent the entirety of their set shrieking into the mics that had the reverb on full. They may have been able to jam on their guitars a bit, but that’s about it.
Their singing voices were shit and their stage presence was nightmarish. The Shrills had put a damper on the evening. I was half beer buzzed, tired, and completely unsure whether I was going to make it. Neither were the ten people that had tagged along. There was still an hour and change until Tick took the stage. The life had been completely sucked out of the room. The party was dead. The Zima’s were gone. The only person having any fun was some broad sitting next to us who was screaming her head off throughout. No one liked her though. Not even her friends. We needed a pick me up in a big way. You usually can’t count on the second act to kick things into a higher gear. That is unless that second act is this week’s Artist of The Week: Restavrant.
Troy Murrah (Guitar/ vocals) and J. State (Drums) make up Restavrant (pronounced restaurant). The two-man band hails from Victoria, TX. They started playing together after they moved out to Los Angeles where Troy was working as a set decorator and J. was attempting to make it as a screenwriter. While they had other gigs, their real passion was always music. Troy plays a relentless guitar, attacking each the song with a Vedder like growl. While J’s drums….well they aren’t really drums at all. His kit features mostly junk. Car rims, paint buckets, suitcases, and licensee plates for symbols. The only true drum pieces were a few electronic pads (Very Phil Collins of State).
Their first album was released in January of 2008 titled Returns To The Tomb Of Guiliano Medidici. While this is technically a blues-rock record, at it’s core Returns is a dance record that happens to feature a harmonica. The techno drums paired with classic blues instruments are a crazy juxtaposition, but it works. The sound is unlike anything else out there. A great example of this jux is heard on the track Joe D. The song is top notch. It’s not often these days that a rock band gets people dancing. These boys certainly did.
Lionman shows the band’s quieter side. Troy’s voice is reminiscent of the very Delta Bluesmen he modeled his guitar playing after. It’s haunting and would be right at home in the whiskey soaked juke joints of the old.
The band is touring now on the heels of their second record from 2012 comically titled Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs. Gone is the electro drum kit of Return. The junkyard drum kit junkyard is now utilized to the fullest. More paint bucket and suitcase. Less Yamaha. The guitar is reminiscent of The Black Keys’ Rubber Factory and Magic Potion, two records that truly ripped. Bev D’s incessant riffs combined with Troy’s screams from the gut make it one of their best tracks.
Their even more boiled down sound explodes off of their track Hey Dolly. Last week I talked about how I don’t like bangers. This is dance shit I can get behind. It’s dirty. It’s sweaty. It’s dripping with booze and smells likes cigarettes. That’s some shit I can get behind. Why can’t they play this in the clubs? Why can’t I meet a girl into this? The hell is going on with this country?
These boys singled handedly saved that show last Sunday. The energy was gone and they put it back. They got people amped and ready for Tick and gained some new fans in the process. They did their fucking job, which in this day and age seems like asking too much from people. Check these fellas out and you will not be disappointed. I leave you with their latest video, the title track from the album, Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs. Check their stuff out.