Morning 40 Federation

The Dragon's Den

September 05, 2004

Leave it up to the Morning 40 Federation to charge a cover on Sunday night and transform dilapidated former slave quarters behind The Dragon's Den into a backstage area. The scuzzy/sleazy local rockers are from the 9th ward, so they're used to gritty environs.

The wicked heat led the packed crowd to start clapping in anger around 11:40, long after the band had set up and soundchecked. The group emerged from the back in a line and didn't apologize when they hit the stage. I didn't expect them to. Assholes will be assholes.

But, wait, isn't that why the city has taken to the sextet of transplants? The group espouses bad behavior, and it's all about perspective if you think drinking a 40 in the morning or having a 13 year-old girlfriend is bad. During a song break, singer/guitarist Ryan Scully said he loved all the good people in the audience, but then he made sure to add he loved all the bad people too. This tolerance is explainable. At the heart of their lyrics about drunkenness is a well-meaning spirit that can't help itself. "I'm a Drunk" was a good example("I'm sorry mom, but I'm a drunk, a drunk/I miss you mom, but I'm a drunk, a drunk/I love you mom, but I'm a drunk, a drunk/Send money, mom, 'cause I'm a drunk").

The last time I saw The Dragon's so full was for a Glorybee show, but the last time I saw a band bring the party like the forties did last night was when Iris May Tango(R.I.P.) performed all- nighters back in the day. The Morning Forty Federation played jumpin', testosterone-filled, catchy, three chord rock full of fun soft/loud dynamics. People were doing a bad jig one second and headbanging the next. Wonderful. Sure, everyone was sweaty, but they were all super-sweaty together, so it added to the party atmosphere. Thank God for deodorant. Even though the show was already full of a crazy energy, Scully jumped into the audience and added some spice. He flailed about and formed a solo mosh pit as he screamed a song. Vocalist/tenor and baritone saxophonist Josh Cohen and trombonist Space Rickshaw provided the music's second-line street feel. Cohen's tenor delivery sounded like former Morphine sax-man Dana Colley on cocaine--or maybe speed.

Speaking of drugs--I left on a perfect note. In between songs, Scully said, "People say we got in this band for women, free alcohol, and drugs...that's true."

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