When the local act for Thunderbird Lounge’s Thursday night Neon Reverb showcase backed-out at the last minute, the lineup was left with the traveling bands that together provided a solid taste of the country’s various musical scenes, spanning from L.A. to Brooklyn with a stopover in Oklahoma.
With miles to be covered and musicians crammed together in small spaces for hours on end, the road to Neon Reverb was anything but dull. We decided to dig for the dirt on three band’s travel stories.
• The Boom Bang from Oklahoma City The youthful four-piece whose baby faces, matching Converse and side-swept hair spark the fear of sounding vaguely like Something Corporate, instead are a pleasant surprise — reminiscent of the more seasoned Violent Femmes. Don’t expect them to be frequenting any strip joints on this Las Vegas trip.
“The car dive [to Las Vegas] was like 16 hours, so we divided it up into shifts of four. I drove the first four hours and it ended in Amarillo — which is where the biggest porn store is. It was huge. It had three corn silos and each had an “X” on it, so it looked huge and scary, like a factory. We go inside and the clerk is what you’d think of a porn-store clerk; he’s a really weird, kinda dandruff-y, big fat guy and he’s breathing really hard. We start looking around and I got grossed out really quickly. I couldn’t eat for a couple hours after.” — Tommy Mckenzie, guitarist.
• The So So Glos from Brooklyn The four piece rockers’ MySpace music doesn’t do them justice. These guys excel live, where their stage energy and garage-rock grunge can really shine — almost making the New Kids on the Block haircuts excusable. They took the road to Reverb as an opportunity to get reunited with a long-lost love: their tour bus, formerly known as Maybelline.
“We were on tour, and we’d just opened in New York for Trail of Dead. After we’d played with them they go, ‘Hey, you know, we’re considering you for European dates?’ and we were like, ‘Oh my god, they’re actually considering us.’ So we go on [our] tour; we’re driving out West to L.A. and we get a phone call from our manager like, ‘Hey guys you have to cancel the rest of the State’s tour, you got a tour in Europe with Trail of Dead.’ And so we flew out to LA and left our bus there, and the bus has been there for a year. We just flew out [for Neon Reverb] 11 months later, and the bus actually works! It was in an RV park near the airport. We did the math and it [cost us] a little over a thousand [dollars], which means we should have got it a bit earlier because our plane tickets cost $700 out here. But the bus is back. I love the bus.” — Zach Staggers, drummer.
• The Mighty Regis from L.A. The Celtic rock band whom singer Franky McNorman describes as being “stuck in L.A,” transformed the Thunderbird Lounge into Fado’s for a night. The luck of the Irish was with the seven-piece, which managed to avoid a speeding ticket en route to the festival.
“The problem is most of us drove separately, and [our guitarist, Ben] kept calling us about speed traps. And we’re going, ‘What the fuck is a speed trap? Whatcha’ talkin’ about, man?’ I thought literally there was going to be a bunch of leaves in the road and we were going to fall into a hole or something. I didn’t know what the fuck he was talkin’ about — speed trap. Watch out for that.” – Gavin McLoud, mandolin.