Live Review: Dinks, Last Vegas, Whipkey 3; CD Review: IfIHadAHiFi…

Category: Blog — @ 5:54 pm October 27, 2008

My take on The Dinks is that they’re a very different band than The Shanks, a more focused, more musical (and much tighter) band that still has the same punk energy but without the violent dross. That’s a fancy way of saying that The Shanks were a Molotov cocktail that could explode with a spray of violence at any moment during their shows, and half the fun was waiting for the meltdown. While 3/4’s of the Shanks are in the Dinks, there appears to be no threat of flying bottles/knocked-out teeth as the band is too busy trying to make music. That, of course, is a good thing. though we’ll all miss the Shanks’ nights of chaos (except those innocent bystanders who got caught in the blood spray). So I guess The Dinks are a real band, which puts them in a whole different category. It’s no longer about “performance;” it’s about songwriting and what level of creativity they can bring to a genre that was mined bone dry 20 years ago. What can The Dinks bring to the table that we haven’t already tasted before? That’s the challenge. I dug what I heard Friday night at O’Leaver’s (and so, apparently, did the 50 or so on hand), but I’m waiting to see where it goes next.

The Dinks were followed by Guitar Hero II band The Last Vegas (Guitar Hero is becoming this generation’s MTV as a vehicle for unknown bands to get their music heard by a new — and huge — audience), I don’t know what was more hilarious, the Last Vegas’ ’80s hair-band histrionics or the level of disgust heard from some of the folks who were there to see The Dinks. For me, it was like stepping into a time machine that took me back to Fat Jacks circa 1986. This band would have fit right in on their red-carpeted stage — pure G ‘n’ R / LA Guns / Aerosmith hair rock, and done quite well (this from someone who saw more than his share of it after years of Tuesday night buck pitchers). If you like that sort of thing, you would have loved these guys — they had the riffs and the moves, even the right clothing. Of course there was nothing original about any of it, nor (I assume) was there intended to be. In fact, The Last Vegas would probably do just as well if they just played Ratt covers.

Saturday night was the Whipkey Three CD release show at Slowdown Jr. I saw a movie before the set (W), which caused me to miss the opener, It’s True, Adam Hawkins’ band (which is generating quite a buzz from a handful of local musicians). Whipkey and Co. played a spot-on set that included as much new material as stuff from the new CD to a crowd that appeared to number just over 100.

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Here’s another Brendan-Greene Walsh CD review. You’ll just have to take his word for it, as I haven’t heard it:

IfIHadAHiFi, Fame By Proxy (Latest Flame) — The fourth full-length from this Milwaukee group and their first release on Latest Flame, the 11-song album is comprised of an all-out barrage of noise, synth and guitar riffs. To say that the songs are jumbled doesn’t do justice — spastic is more accurate. Dissonant melodies are connected to jangling guitars and space-age sound effects to create an awkward sense of a song. Frequent and unwarranted changes in tempo and time signature only add to the overall confusion and lack of continuity. While at some points the band reminded me of the raging sounds created by Shellac, more often than not they sounded like a musical train wreck. Through the mess, only one song stood out above the rest and stayed with me for more than a few minutes, the 10th track, suitably titled “Success! Success! Success!” While I am not willing to offer conclusions about the title having anything to do with the music, the chorus is the closest the group came to a unified and cohesive sound. The vocal melody is coupled with concise song writing and a strong rhythm section to create what could actually be considered a decent song. Rating: No. — Brendan Greene-Walsh

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