Reflections on the Parking Lot Blowout 2010

(photos courtesy of Matt Slaybaugh)

It’s hard for me to say what hasn’t already been said about the 5th annual Columbus Music Co-Op's Parking Lot Blowout. This is a glorious event, at which I had the pleasure of volunteering this year. If the Comfest Gestapo were in attendance they have learned a thing or two about how to plan a party. Perched right next to the Surly Girl Saloon, the PLBO is essentially placed upon an alley that doesn’t seem like it should be able to accommodate such an event. At times last Saturday, when that alley brimmed to capacity, doubled with the blaring July heat, it was a struggle to get a good view of what was going on up front. Sound issues were also apparent – but I couldn’t tell since I’d never seen the Gibson Bros. before. The communal vibes alone were enough to discard complaints about such things. To me, what the Gibson Bros. were doing was reflective of the entire day/crowd, and that was having a sloppy good time. Ripping through bluesy psychedelia with little regard to coherence and form, the Gibson Bros. emanated yet another ray of Columbus nostalgia too important to ignore. I imagine this is exactly what is was like back in the day, the only difference being Jeffrey Evans would stand and strut the way Jon Spencer does now.

This weekend I learned to truly love and respect the New Bomb Turks with all my heart. If there was a preference when I was younger, it was for Gaunt, and the Turks were merely the other punk band in town – with a few good records. Over time, ‘cause you know it heals everything, I’ve grown to love just about everything the Turks have done (except for those album covers, woof). The two shows I had the pleasure of partaking Friday and Saturday, just secured my adoration. Of course it was the weekend of Eric Davidson’s newly minted genre – “gunk punk” – and as forefathers to that movement the Turks displayed the tenets of “gunk punk” in a fiercely destructive whiplash over a two day span. Destroy Oh-Boy!! Isn’t that right? Not sure if it’s Sam Brown that truly makes them tick these days, but NBT have gotten better in the time being away – managing to keep the vitriol and goofiness intact, while blending in a hidden nuance and refinement that can only come when punks start manning day jobs. Davidson doesn’t look a day past 27 and his antics remain as obvious and endearing as ever. And in the folds of a NBT reunion, there was enough Gaunt love (killing myself for missing Necropolis’ doing Sob Story front to back) in these rooms to feel that spirit rise up as well.

What I did get to see up close and personal were sets from the newly formed EYE and the reunionized duo, Fat Girls by the Snack Table. Back in the day when sets by the Fat Girls were commonplace I can say with absolute dismay that I never got to witness one. I’m kicking myself in regret – as it sounds like Gretchen Tepper and cohort (apologies for not knowing your name) took Kim Deal’s wing to the Pixies and turned it into a rec-room full of broken down synths and ham-fisted riffs. Hilarious that Tepper, a raging NBA fanatic (a shot for Manute Bol?), dedicated most of the set to dissing LeWrong instead of ex-boyfriends and healthy lifestyles that normally inhabit the songs. To say that the Fat Girls were ahead of their time back in their day is an understatement – this stuff dwarfs any of the Le Tigre electro-schlock with a looming shadow of melody and welcome discomfort. To see them re-living re-making the model of songs past was just as entertaining as the blips and beats beckoning the crowd to get closer and quiver along with them.

EYE on the other hand, is the future – and gives credence to my theory that the Columbus metal freaks constantly evolve into hybrid monsters eclipsing their previous bands output. EYE consists of two parts Pretty Weapons and one thundering monolith from Teeth of the Hydra et al (goodness, can we get a Lack retrospective together next year? an LP re-ish?). A recent run-in with an ex-pat metal overlord, who was in town just to catch a canceled Pentagram show, was perhaps a omen as to what to expect from EYE, as their slogging, throbbing, pulse was like molasses dripping from the hash pipe. This was Pentagram on 33 1/3 if you ask me, usually vocodered out into darkened hills and valleys, worshiping the night sky and abandoning the stars. While not knowing much of their material (I was an EYE virgin, mind you) I found it easy to keep up. The undulating swing between pure doom drone and sick little hints of prog had me thinking King Crimson at their most sinister and Sleep at their most distracted. Translated that means this stuff is potent. I need to see this in a cramped, sweaty, dimly lit club sometime soon. Vinyl please – soon.

Yup. I booked it during Scrawl. Just never explored them all that much. And after a night and a full day’s worth of music, I was too cooked to make it to the Oblivions. So, I’ll keep it at that. Everything else (from my beer pouring shift, to the other volunteers I was fortunate enough to work with, and even the Late Night Slice sauces) was absolutely kosher beyond compare. Though I’m gearing up for the CDR BBQ (coming soon), I’d likely be happy if this was the end to my summer – but alas, this summer is endless.

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