Album Attack, Fugazi's 13 Songs
Oct. 15, 2011
As has become the custom in Long Beach, a hodgepodge-supergroup of local musicians took the stage at the Prospector on Saturday to play through an influential indie album in its entirety. In the spotlight this month--Fugazi's 13 Songs.
The monthly shows--know as Album Attack--are performed by a one-time-only band, curated exclusively for each show by the concept's creator, current cover-and-karaoke-band guru Jesse Wilder. Long Beach's Fugazi included singer Warren Woodward, guitarist/singer Josh Teague, bassist Travis Laws and drummer Thad Paulson, four seasoned area musicians who were chosen for their ability to execute the frenetic energy found in the post-hardcore band's first full-length release.
But before they ripped into the seminal 1989 album, opening act Sassafrass primed the crowd by channeling chugging riffs and scratchy wails as though they were early Black Sabbath or Mötorhead. Though they were down a member--the Mike Watt-recommended bassist was apparently at a high-school reunion--the two guitarists switched off bass duties, dropping keys midsong as if it were their schtick.
About halfway through the set, my cohort explained that there are two types of bands that play guitar-driven cock rock: guys with too much testosterone and stoners. Judging by Sassafrass' sped-up funk lines and prog-guitar tendencies, we both agreed they were definitely the latter.
Our homegrown self-described Fauxgazi came out next, confidently tearing into 13 Songs despite the nervousness they must have felt playing such a defining album for their generation. Debates had raged earlier in the night over other Fugazi albums that should have been covered instead, but the band's spot-on rendition of opener "Waiting Room" was a reminder of why 13 Songs won out.
It might not be a solid compilation of Fugazi's finest work, but 13 Songs is an early testament to their raw sound of latent punk energy as it crashed into melodic emotionalism on its way out of '80s hardcore. It shows the unrefined-yet-controlled style that initially drew listeners to Fugazi and, as an early recording, is fitting source material for an Album Attack band that barely has a month to find their own dynamic.
All veterans of the local music scene, the members of LB's Fugazi replicated the 13 songs with ease.
Paulson nailed all of Brendan Canty's aggressive rhythms, Teague's masterful shredding turned his black cowboy shirt into a sweaty swimsuit, mop-topped Woodward sang some of Guy Picciotto's lyrics while staggering into the crowd, and Laws' intensive bass-playing ensured if any mistakes were made, no one would stop moving long enough to hear it. The band even went beyond their required setlist and played two extra Fugazi songs, "Reclaimation" and "Blueprint."
While maybe not an "authentic" punk rock show--no one started a pit, no one left shirtless--the intimate venue and talented local musicians made the fourth installment of Album Attack a success. Though rumors are floating of a Rentals-album rehash in the future, we can only look forward Wilder's next announced move--November's Album Attack will be the Replacements' Let It Be.
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Critics Bias: I've been looking forward to this show since the Album Attack series began.
The Crowd: Enthusiastic thirtysomething friends of the Fugazi band members and the regular crop of whiskey-swilling Long Beach musicians.
Overheard In the Crowd: "This is fucking rad!"
Random Notebook Dump: The rhythm section killed it!!!