The fourth annual Goner Fest got rolling yesterday as the opening ceremonies commenced at the flagship Goner store in Memphis. The revered record label, store, website, message board and rapidly forming religion, known simply as Goner is throwing their yearly bash that signifies the cessation of summer, and to make way for a lamer, colder season. Hundreds of self-proclaimed “Goners” flock to Memphis every year, and their drooling, greasy excitement is whipped into a froth as an armada of rock'n'roll saviors from distant corners of the world come together to remind us that it's all about celebrating the music, and the camaraderie that brings us all together. That, and maybe the booze too, and probably a couple of other things, but there's no need to get into them.
This year holds a couple of special treats for the minions. The line up tonight at the Hi-Tone features a healthy mix of sonic brigadiers guaranteed to wipe the shit-eating grin right back on to your face. The headlining act, Jay Reatard is by now a Memphis dignitary whose decade of raw, echo-splashed introspective torment has finally garnered him some attention beyond the heedful wall of mainstream ears. And deservedly so, as his music certainly offers something well beyond the pallid pastures of his peers with an ever-growing fan base, complete with lofty record deals and monogrammed house robes. His latest release on In The Red, Blood Visions, along with the recent internet-only 12” EP, Night Of Broken Glass, ride an interesting line between melodic pop and a sweat-inducing nightmares, all delivered in his unique heart-hollowing howl. Tina Lucchesi's outfit, Top Ten, are supporting Jay along with the slimy Memphis gutter-glam band, The Barbaras, who remind us all that, although their songs come off as sweet as a bubbly summer evening, their underwear clearly is not. They are grayed with groin sweat and you'll probably end up enthusiastically wearing them by the time they close their set tonight.
The line up Friday night at the Hi-Tone is equally impressive. Featuring such luminaries as Gentleman Jesse And His Men, whose debut full-length is due out sometime soon on Douchemaster, along with the recently resurfaced Seattle pop overlords, Head, and headliners, the new soldiers of brazen-blazing pop crooning, Marked Men, this night is destined to go down in the history books. The band to see Friday night is Eddy Current Suppression Ring, a gang from Melbourne Australia, who play the sort of muddy apex of tonal warfare the region has been known for over the past couple of decades. Their clever way of presenting the candied center of pop through a tough veneer is something truly special.
Just as your liver is begging your booze-drenched belly for a breather, Saturday night is set to destroy your clear complexion and turn your genitals to stone for good this time. The Memphis czar, Jeffrey Evans, who in his infinite wisdom, has spun numerous must-hear acts through the past twenty some years and is certainly partially responsible for the aesthetic of rock'n'roll that's been lifted by an uncountable number of bands since. Chicago's Busy Signals are making an appearance and fresh off wrapping up their full-length on Dirtnap Records (due out in a couple of weeks), it's a good bet that their blazing set will live up to the hype that surrounds them. The acts to see Saturday night are Donny Denim and the Meatballs, the Darin Raffaelli-centered super group, and the newest Rich Crook project called LOVER!, whose debut this past year on Empty Records has scored him accolades for his fresh spin on glammy pop brilliance. With a follow-up already in the cooker, and due out on Red Lounge Records, there's no chance of the fire smoldering out anytime soon.
Check out our Memphis page listings for a complete line-up, the Goner message board for tips for out-of-towners, nonsensical advice, and sarcastic jabs at your sexual orientation, and the Goner Fest blog for everything else. Advance tickets are now sold out, but some will be available at the door each night, so check out the late-night afterparty schedule at Printer's Row HERE for even more. See you there!
check out a video clip of Eddy Current Suppression Ring right here...