Friday, April 1, 2011

Mike Watt and the Missingmen - Sons of Guns -- Black Cat - Apr 1 2011

Sons of Guns - I suppose I should not get irritated by generic band names that are used elsewhere, but these guys are not linked as I have no idea who they are. They are not a European band I found on Facebook or an Oregon band I found on Myspace. I do have other things to do in life, so now on to their set. The first cut was a nice swampy blues rock number that was far simpler than the Gun Club, say for instance. They then moved to tribal thumping rootsy blues/rock with punk attitude. They were a four-piece with a singer and just one guitar and things were kept simple throughout. Ultimately I was feeling a bit of San Francisco sound and the closest band I can think of is Fang, if they had gone bluesier. The songs varied between likable and dull, about every other one. They kind of reminded me of roadie bands and buddy bands that toured along with Black Flag. No surprise then, considering our headliner. A reasonable 22 minutes, but nothing I would ever want to own on vinyl, CD, or MP3.
Mike Watt, center, will be joined by 
Missingmen Tom Watson, left, and Raul Morales at Mercury Lounge in 
Goleta on Sunday.
Mike Watt, center, Tom Watson, left, and Raul Morales

Mike Watt and the Missingmen - I found it interesting that I have seen Mike Watt more with the Stooges than in all his other bands combined. I do recall seeing the Minutemen open for Black Flag in Detroit and being outstanding, which surprised me as I was only a lukewarm fan of their records. I may have seen him a second time, but my memory is off on this one, so perhaps it was just the one time. I have seen the Stooges four times, so I was interested in catching this variation which I had heard was a bit of a throwback to the Minutemen style. The backroom is sold out with an interesting mix of old and new fans. The first song had a great old feeling of grind it out guitar with Watt's funky and jazzy bass runs. Drums were solid and the band was comfortable working off each other. They proceeded to mix it up with slower, mid-tempo, and fast numbers with Watt handling all the vocals. The slower ones went into a lounge-jazz beat style that worked better than I thought it would for me. Watt's vocals were closer to Nick Cave than Tom Waits, if I had to pick. It was steeped in the southern Cal-SST style of old more than a Minutemen copy. After a 40-minute set, they came back for a slew of encores, mostly sung by the guitarist. The tempo was steadily faster and the crowd was rocking out nicely. This last 20 minutes made the night for me. Nothing overwhelming here, but good solid original rock music done by guys who I can respect and have a good time listening to. Mike Watt fans know who they are and they will not be disappointed. Trendy fans can seek the latest craze elsewhere.

Quote of the Night: I didn't hear much tonight and aside from the unconscious guy dragged out midway through Watt's set, it was a nice easy night. Watt did say he'd  " to thank Dante for having us all these years and Ian...", so it was nice to see some of the old early 80s veterans getting together for the show.

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