River City Tanlines

Spellcaster Lodge

August 06, 2005

From the back of the concrete basement cum lower level of the Spellcaster Lodge Saturday night, Quintron was raising and lowering the house lights to coincide with changes in the music. Quintron, owner of the lodge and host of the party, got on the stage mic to request another song when The River City Tanlines said goodbye to the crowd. The next moment was interesting. Quintron must have realized that the band was pooped from the heat because he laid off the request while drummer Bubba hobbled into the back room. Everyone wanted another song. No doubt about that, but it was so freakin' hot in there. As I was leaving the room, someone behind me said that even in the winter, the room is hot. He said, "Even if they moved the Spellcaster to Alaska, it would still be hot." It was funny a few minutes later Bubba emerge onto St. Claude from the house and say the lodge was the hottest place he had ever played. I wish I could take pride in this city's heat, but it's really not that fun. It gives everyone a slow disease.

Straight from Midtown Memphis, a place that's more likely to get snow, came The River City Tanlines. The punk trio featured guitarist/vocalist Alicja, bassist T-Money, and Bubba.

The River City Tanlines played propulsive rock. Knock-you-over-the-head-with-a-bucket rock. It was Nuclear punk with grudgy riffs, but it wasn't super-speedy. It was more hard-rock influenced. What's the word? Oh, yeah--garage rock. Some people might call it garage rock.it's safe to say that The Hives and Von Bondies would love The River City Tanlines. Sing along with these guitar notes for a better idea of the sound: "Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do, DO(cymbal crash) DO(cc) DO(cc) DO(cc), Dun, dun, dun..." And on. The River City Tanlines were reminiscent of the early nihilism("I just wanna get some chicks"), simplicity, and penchant for melody that The Ramones possessed.

T-Money and Bubba did a great job of holding down the song, but Alicja was the musical star. She seamlessly mixed rhythm and lead guitar parts.One second she was strumming away, feedback blasting here and there, and the next she was off on some cacophonous solo. It was hellish and beautiful. It was the soundtrack to a razor cutting through steel. If you put that solo with the image of someone's arm getting sawed off, people would throw up.

Alicja got the crowd into the set by jumping around and headbanging. Her energy was relentless. She added a sense of immediacy to the songs when she shook her body in the direction of Bubba, as if to say, "C'mon, let's keep this going. Start the next song!"

It was great to see The River City Tanlines slowly win over the crowd. By the end of the set, people were cheering like crazy. People had nothing but good things to say about the band. They played fun, hard, party rock.

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