Driving through New Haven is a real bummer right now, mostly because of the 8 feet of snow that has fallen since December. New Haven has some narrow streets anyway, being a very old city, but a couple of the streets I drove down on Friday night had been barely plowed open 6 or 7 feet wide, to the point where if you stopped in the middle of them and opened one of the doors on either side of your car, you'd hit a snowbank.
Of course, bitching about snowfall is just gonna look stupid anyway-- people in Buffalo or North Dakota are just going to laugh at you for being such a wimp, and people who don't get any snow don't really give a shit to hear you talk about it. The one thing about it was, it made it difficult for me to find a parking spot, hence all the driving around I was doing. I usually park right by the house for FDZ shows, but with all the snowbanks, parking on the street was out of the question. I ended up finding a lot on Chapel Street about 3 or 4 blocks away, near all of the Indian restaurants. The lot was unattended, with the idea that you were supposed to pay in advance by folding a five-dollar bill four ways and sliding it into the numbered coin slot that matched whichever parking space you were in. I ended up leaving a dollar, with none of the other people I saw leaving anything.
Because of all the dicking around trying to find a parking spot, I missed most of Marvin Berry & The New Sound's set. I also ended up having to watch the little bit that I did see from the side hallway, where the sound generally isn't all that impressive. The Marvin Berry 7" (on Mike Hunchback's label) is pretty great, though; Danny Z from Modern Machines/Used Kids plays bass, and they do a kinda surfy/twangy rock type thing, not quite Night Birds hard, but a bit harder than you're probably thinking judging from their name. The last song on the single, "Space Age", has one of the niftiest choruses I've heard in some time. Danny somehow remembered me as the guy who took the picture on the back of the Used Kids 7" and gave me a free copy of the record, which the singer, Joe, had been hand-assembling at the big glass table in the downstairs area for part of the night. The center labels on both sides of the record are ink-stamped by hand, which is fairly labor-intensive as you might imagine, and when I went back into the room a little while later, I found that Joe had written on the outside of some of the sleeves using the red stamp pad ink: "FUCK U", "LIVE PUNK", and the "NYHC" symbol. So, of course, I had to buy another copy so I could get one of those.
I'd downloaded the Nude Beach demo a couple of years ago and really liked it a lot (you can still grab it for free from If You Make It), but then I somehow missed the LP that came out at the middle of last year. I ended up buying it at the show on Friday, of course, and it's pretty goddamn prime-- "Hit By a Hurricane" is the single best song I've heard so far in 2011. I'll tell you this, Nude Beach can play some bad-ass rock; not pop-punk, not indie rock, but friggin' flat-out rock n roll. Some of their stuff is almost straight-up Bent Outta Shape-type stuff-- the first two songs on the LP, for instance-- and then there's some other riffs that remind me of Sandworms, but then they can also go all over the place with almost-weird stuff like "The Mountain or The Moon" or "Beachy", which are practically psych-pop, like Demon's Claws meets The Reactions or something. Their singer came out on Friday wearing Bobby Dylan's bedhead and Westerberg's flannel shirt, and suddenly we were about to get our asses kicked. They warmed up with Big Star's "Back of a Car" but didn't actually play it, and then made up for it with a cover of "Hey! Little Child" from "Like Flies On Sherbert", which is only like MY FUCKING FAVORITE RECORD EVER ALMOST!!!, the one I'd take to a desert island with me (or else "Sorry Ma" or "Hootenanny", or "Radio City" or "Highway To Hell"/"Back In Black" or the Drunks With Guns LP, one of those)... and then immediately after that, ripped open a cover of "Twist and Shout". Total freakin' bad-ass. It's a good guess that this is a band that could open their set with a cover of "Takin' a Ride" or "Don't Ask Why" without anyone even raising an eyebrow.
After a nice mug of black coffee (thanks to Dave Brainwreck-- sorry, but I gotta give a shout-out, it really was good coffee), I walked my records back to the car and ended up missing the start of Dead Uncles, plus the Fucking Discovery Zone is a really narrow room which makes it hard to move up front if you show up late. I eventually forced my way forward but got bounced hard into the sheetrock in the process, opening up a healthy Dave Brushback-sized hole in the wall. People were going crazy slamming, crowd-surfing and throwing beer cans during the Dead Uncles set (I think you can even see an airborne can of Black Label about to make a landing in the photo below), so after a while I'd had enough of that, figuring that Dead Uncles usually only play about 6 or 7 songs anyway. I think I left after the seventh song, but then I could hear from outside that they were still playing; if I find out they ended up finally doing the Replacements cover, I'm gonna be pissed.
"Hit By a Hurricane"
Marvin Berry & The New Sound -
Dead Uncles -
"City of Village Idiots"