Wednesday, November 14, 2007

26 October 2007: Blitzen Trapper & Two Gallants

26 October 2007
Two Gallants w/Blitzen Trapper
The Independent
628 Divisadero St (btwn Hayes & Grove) [Map]
Drinks consumed: lost count but thanks for that shot, Jason!

Those who claim rock and roll is dead—or at least not "vibrant" these days—haven't seen Blitzen Trapper or Two Gallants play live to a drunk and rowdy crowd at the Independent. (They also aren't paying attention to music in general, but that's beside the point.) While the Two Gallants are hometown heroes, thinking of them as just another local band undercuts the talent of the duo, whose sound falls somewhere between Guy Clark and the Buzzcocks. Coupled with classic-rock-loving Blitzen Trapper, you have a show which proves that rock and roll is not dead. These two bands are recycling and combining old forms of music to create awesome new sounds.

Identifying what classic rock artist each Blitzen Trapper song sounds most like is an exercise in classic rock appreciation. From Cream to Black Sabbath to the Zombies, Blitzen Trapper is right on the heels of Wolfmother in bringing the sounds of the late 60s and early 70s to indie rock. It's about time—the wannabe Joy Division sound was excruciating from the start. It's great to see a bunch of nerdy guys—one of them in a too-small ski sweater his grandma could have bought him—rock the fuck out to the sounds of their parents' record collections as if Interpol never happened. They played a long set which made the show feel like they were more double headliners than an opening act. I loved it.

Then we have Two Gallants. "Alt-country" is the lamest label you can give these guys. This is a band who, in 2006, found themselves face-to-face with a Houston police officer's taser when the officer responded to a noise complaint from a neighbor and the band continued to rock. Fortunately there were no utterances of "Don't tase me bro" at the Indy. There were, however, plenty of people singing along to every word. The duo's lyrics are old country with a punk twist: "I shot my wife today / dropped her body in the 'Frisco bay / I had no choice it was the only way / Death's coming, I'm still running." And, of course, my friend's personal favorite: "But I guess by the dim light in your eyes / And that to you all things come as a surprise/ I should set the steel trap of your thighs / And dive right in." The place nearly exploded when they played those two songs—"Steady Rollin'" and "Despite What You've Been Told," respectively—thus restoring my faith in San Francisco's ability to rock.

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