Inside Local 506, there's a caveman on drums.
His ratty mound of dreadlocks trembles and shakes as he pounds out a slow-going tribal plod. Behind him is the exact opposite--a tall, clean looking guy treating a pedal board like a synth--at the moment, its meaty notes are low and grumbled; but in just seconds, the whole thing will screech and squelch.
In the corner, back to audience, there's a Deadhead wearing a bandanna, playing through a line of low-rent effects pedals that somehow create a repetitive, heavenly din. Then there's Michael Turner, beer gutted and lazy eyed, splayed out on the floor with a mic shoved down his throat.
Yes, it's loud.
Warmer Milks is halfway through its last song and the brute force (in tandem with the solid state amps and jam band witchery) have got the room sounding like Michael Gira hijacking a Guitar Center.
But if Milks is Swans via Sam Ash, the night's main attraction is a tie-dyed record collection (and copy of Dazed and Confused) hijacked by a bunch of psych scorchers--with all the shit-eatery that implies, and little of the cool. It's not that Ethan Miller (of Comets on Fire) and John Moloney (of Sunburned Hand of the Man) don't serve up the Southern rock convincingly. In fact, their rough-edged calculation of the Allman Brothers works wonders on record.
But, live, their little collabo falls flat, thanks to its single, full-on dynamic. Where the band's self-titled Birdman debut lets off and rains down in spells, on stage Miller yells and powers through each number with the strength of ... well, a comet on fire.
And after his band's final song--when Miller tugs at the Janis Joplin tee draped over his frame and allows a sheepish "See you next time"--the small crowd that's slogged through the set can't help but feel a little relief that next time means with the raucous Comets on Fire. --Robbie Mackey
Danny Wells, Phillip White and Amber Leigh White--modern country hitmakers for people like George Strait and Rascal Flatts--are part of a songwriter's workshop at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences on Saturday, June 24. Presented by the Central Carolina Songwriters Association, the event will include critiques of session demos. For more, see www.ccsa-raleigh.com.