Like old times: In the black at the Rose
Published October 21, 2004, in issue 0342 of the Hook
Fallout Countdown, Finger Painters, and The Great White Jenkins
at Tokyo Rose
Saturday, October 16
Living on the wrong side of the tracks, I had not been to Tokyo Rose for a show in at least six months. But Saturday night found me braving the smoky den of sin for another round of the old indie-rock. Though faces had changed, the atmosphere was the same: thrift store-outfitted hipsters sipping Japanese beer and waiting for their friend's band to go on.
As always, when you come to see a show at the Rose, opening acts spring up like weeds, though in this case, The Great White Jenkins was refreshingly above average. The four-piece group (acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums) performed a mixture of folk and pop, starting things off strong with their set's catchiest number.
A simple four-riff piece with a repeated chorus of "Shoulda been your servant darling / Shoulda been your slave" had the crowd ecstatic in appreciation. From there things were less grabbing, and the interest of the assembled waned considerably. The group has a bad habit of ending many of their numbers by trailing off rather than coming to a definite conclusion, but they were good for a young band (which unless they've been Botox clients recently, they are).
Next up was the Finger Painters, and now things got a lot more boisterous. For this four-man setup, acoustic guitar switched to electric, and that change– in addition to a serious increase in knob crankage– led the folk at last into the mighty halls of rock.
The group was tight right off the bat, and though it was their first show at the Rose, they didn't seem to need to find their legs. With a rotating cast of lead vocalists including the lead guitarist, the rhythm guitarist, and the drummer (the amazing Steve Snider), no one was sure what we were going to get at the beginning of every song. Highlighting the set were a tune on which both guitarists sang in a quasi-round fashion, and another sung by Snider, a great pop tune. The song's unexpected chord change on its chorus, and double backup vocals by the group's guitarists made my ears perk up like a cat's.
Fallout Countdown was next, another four-man outfit with the standard rock setup, but this is in no way a pop/rock group; they push rock's boundaries into hardcore and punk. A screaming-quick number sung by the group's guitarist led to a quick reshuffling of instruments so that the group's bassist now became the microphone-gripping singer for a song which mostly consisted of him screaming, "I'm the proletariat / You're the proletariat" and doing some nice flailing around the stage.
I think there was also some wood block and tambourine in there somewhere. The group was loud, angry, and utterly uncompromising, and though I could not understand the words in the slightest, politics were reportedly frequently on their minds.