|SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS
The Forty Fives
I Can Like Any Son Of A Bitch In The House
Crystal Ballroom, Portland OR
This was a nice night out with some of Portland's finest. I Can Like Any Son Of A Bitch In The House is a local quartet making their mark on the club scene. They kicked the show open with guns a blazin' in support of their In Music We Trust debut "Creepy Little Noises". Like a hungry pitbull - teeth bared and ready to rip, the band through down a set of serious blue-collar rock. The brainchild of Mike Damron who named his band after boxing champion John L. Sullivan's biography S.O.B. kicks out muddy, swamp-country-rock with the attitude of an alligator caught in a coon trap. From the eerie resonance of 'John L. Sullivan', to the gravel-paved ballad of 'Walk Across Texas' the show echoes an early Johnny Cash backed by a wicked-ass punk band. Damron's since of humor rings out in the lyrics especially on 'Saturday', an ode to his childhood watching cartoons and eating Cap 'n Crunch but then proclaims "Mama, you're never gonna hit me again." The chemistry between rock and country is seamless and inspiring especially with their raw, emotional delivery.
Next up was Atlanta's own the Forty-Fives. A première garage-rock outfit consisting of guitarist/vocalist Bryan Malone, bassist Mark McMurtry, organist Trey Tidwell, and outstanding drummer Adam Renshaw. Earlier in the day the four-piece played the Music Millennium instore and were so loud they sent mother's scurrying to get their kids out the door before paint started peeling off the walls. Tonight, in a full to capacity hall, their sound permeated every inch of open space. Delivering a blistering set of smack-punk meets Link Wray they capitalized on songs from both their Artemis Records debut " Get It Together" and the freshly released "Fight Dirty".
Having toured with the likes of Wayne Kramer, the Dickies, Pansy Division, and Marky Ramone, the group has fine-tuned their punch-in-the-face pounding. Songs like 'My Kind of Girl', 'Hanging by a Thread', 'Get Out' and 'Midnight Creep' offer up a tacklebox full of frantic rock hooks and electrified pop. Bryan Malone's slightly gruff, angry vocals are perfectly suited to the band's raucous style, though it is the brawling guitars that are the clear star tonight. "The Devil Beats His Wife" and "Great Escape" sound a bit like the Supersuckers as Malone's vocals take an endearingly ragged Eddie Spaghetti-esque turn.
The Forty Fives recorded their current release, "Fight Dirty" at Sun Studios in Memphis. It is a stripped down affair - bare bones, played with heart-felt emotion, pounding beats, reverberating guitars, and swirling hammond B3 organ. As they showcase it live they are a sweatfest with only a four count between numbers. There are the occasional moments where they trade the angst in for a Beatles-influenced style but only long enough to give the set just enough space. For the most part it's rock anthems with gut-level emotion.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based Southern Culture on the Skids has been around since the early '90s. Defined as Southern-fried rockabilly boogie, the cult band bring their brand of humor (in a B52's kind of way) to the stage with a bucket full of fried chicken. Legendary wildman Hasil Adkins helps out as they chug through a line of classics in the range of 'Barnyard Ballbuster', 'Daddy Was a Preacher But Mama Was A Go-Go Girl', 'Too Much Pork For Just One Fork', ' Chicken Shit Farmer' and 'Rumors Of Surf'. Their songs are short and concise with a musical palette of strong, straight-ahead country accents. This is America hillbilly white trash at its best. Rick Miller's guitar work is sizzellin' hot while bassist Mary Huff and percussionist Dave Hartman give him all the firm support he needs. The chicken started flying three-quartes of the way through - greasing the floor with just enough slide to dance on. Pure trash rock heaven!