As Ricky Ricardo used to say to his hapless wife Lucy, “you have some ‘splainin’ to do.” Indeed we do, and we admit some apologies are also in order. First up, we want to apologize to you, dear reader, for leaving South by Southwest (SXSW) two days early. Without going into too many details, let’s just say we had to make the call to throw in the towel quite reluctantly. Even though we were in the SXSW slipstream for barely 24 hours, it was still a fruitful visit.
So, let’s get started. We want to apologize to the band Wild Flag, which we had every intention to see during SXSW. The new quartet’s members have been in a number of bands, most notably Sleater-Kinney and we loved guitarist Carrie Brownstein’s new TV show “Portlandia.” So why didn’t we see ‘em? I couldn’t find Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, the actual bicycle shop owned by Lance Armstrong. Wild Flag played a show for KEXP-FM in Seattle and we missed it because I’m a terrible navigator. However, I found the place in time to see ’80s synth-rockers Orchestral Maneuovres in the Dark the next day, and I’m glad I did.
Also apologies are due to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., whom we saw at the Paste magazine day party on Thursday. It’s hard to describe the band’s music, despite the numbing stupidity of its name (which is brilliant, by the way) but let’s just say this Detroit three-piece puts out the least wimpy pop-rock we have heard since, well, never. I heard ‘em playing in this place on Sixth Street and walked all the way across the street and actually had to flash my ID to enter and hear this phenomenal music up close. Josh Epstein, singing and flailing on his bass guitar while Daniel Zott kept the beat, cranked out some exceptionally tuneful rock that has me looking online for something more to download. You can start with this one, it’s legal.