|Sugar Sugar Sugar - KMRE Benefit - source|
KMRE Benefit II: Sugar Sugar Sugar, Black Beast Revival, Sir Reginold Cosgrove and His Nighttime Singers - The American Museum of Radio and Electricity
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Sir Reginold Cosgrove and His Nighttime Singers start things off. Ambient amp buzz frames the garage band rawness of the group. By the third song, “Itch,” they have got it all locked down. Jumpin G on lead vocals and guitars brings to mind John Doe around “Burning House of Love.” The Rookie nails down a flat 60s retro beat. The Shadow and Sweets anchor guitar and bass respectively while also trading off vocals. Halfway in and I am thinking of Sir Douglas Quintet and the 13th Floor Elevators. Jumpin G lets loose a few primal screams to a rockabilly backbeat, while the Shadow plays a searing lead guitar. And when Sweets sang a sass-filled song towards the end, I imagined that somewhere Wanda Jackson found herself smiling over the brief borrowing of her soul. By the end of their set, they were the embodiment of stripped down rock and roll: loud lightning burning on the stage.
Black Beast Revival start off tight as a noose around the neck, swinging the heavy sound out over the crowd. Snake-like smooth. Bill Anker’s drumming resonating like tribal skins stretched over the apocalypse. Erin Anderson’s voice has a laid back cool that can suddenly erupt into a wail of fire. Brice Ervin on bass and Zack Van Houten on guitar setting up a driving beat for the open road, thundering bass and guitar leads that scream out of meth nightmares, like a string strung through the skull from ear to ear singing in the brain. Fragments of the Cult, Morphine, Jesus Lizard and Bauhaus splintering off the stage in feedback drenched dreams of the end of things. Anker’s drumming is simply exceptional, the bones inside the music. This is highway music. Rumbling Harley motor bass. Van Houten’s screaming guitar amped up to high rpms. Anderson’s phrasing is superb: suddenly quiet like a serial killer right next to your ear, stranger on the road, next to you in the bus seat. Near the end of their set is a song with the skull banging rhythm, thundering bass, “Sympathy for the Devil” squeal of the lead guitar and Erin Anderson alternating between an incantatory tone and a tent preacher revival screams. This is religion. Get saved or burn at the hands of an angry god. It just got loud.
Last up is Sugar Sugar Sugar. Of course, it starts with thunder. First song, “Sweet On U.” Big J, Andru Creature and Lupe Flores setting up a James Bond Led Zeppelin fuzzed out bass groove on really good acid. Falsetto hiccup vocals. Lupe drumming with her entire being, inhabiting the drums. Andru there as the embodiment of a paradoxical cool heat, burning with the meaning of the music, the guitar a natural extension of his being. Big J backing it all up exponentially with the sound of fire. Clearly, a band that knows each other - a sound as tight as a diamond knot. Lupe drumming like a demon – imagine Kali with a garland necklace of bloody skulls, hair on fire pounding out the heartbeats of time. The audience gathered around the stage soaking up the spectacle, a sort of tribal ritual, shapes on the wall behind the Sugars like post-Hiroshima shadow dramas enacting something unsayable and strange. All in all, Sugar Sugar Sugar is just a great band burning bright with everything that a band should be: rock solid bottom line, hooks that hang in your brain, searing lead breaks and some sort of utter strangeness, an incomprehensible lyrical idiosyncrasy that makes you fall into the hot core of it all – with absolute surrender and joy. Arc light in the blue of dawn licking the pink centers of your brain. Cotton candy lit on fire and melting into your mouth. The last three songs had the crowd tranced out and blood simple, dancers just shivering on the floor and everyone’s skulls just nodding like dashboard Day of the Dead Calaveras. There is thunder on Bay Street. Yes, it got very loud.