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Upcoming show: Stiff Middle Fingers/Scruffy and the Janitors/Black on Black at Bottleneck, 2.20.13





Upcoming show: Stiff Middle Fingers/Scruffy and the Janitors/Black on Black at Bottleneck, 2.20.13

Two punk rock-leaning acts playing an all-ages show on a Wednesday night with a blues-driven garage rock band made up of teenagers. Weird? Perhaps. Worth $5? Yes sir.
 
On Wednesday February 20, three of the area’s best, most passionate bands will plant their flags on the stage at The Bottleneck: Black on Black and Scruffy and the Janitors will be laying out the lush red carpet as they support local hardcore punk aficionados Stiff Middle Fingers
 
Black on Black, a punk three-piece, claims to play and live the music that drives them. One listen to the EPs Help Yourself and the upcoming Let’s Get Cynical and you will know this statement is not just more pseudo-punk posturing from some mall punk rockers, this band practices what it preaches. Influenced by luminaries of the hardcore scene like Fugazi, Gorilla Biscuits, Bad Religion, OFF!, and Bad Brains as well as the alternative leaning Dinosaur Jr., The Melvins, and Archers of Loaf, Black on Black embraces the ominous tones of garage rock, the all-out audial assault of massive volume legends like Swans and storytelling like that of Husker Dü. Make sure to show up early for some punk rock storytelling truth. If you dig Vampire Weekend, stay home.
 
Bands charging out of the fertile music scene of St. Joseph are all the rage. First was Dsoedean, the indie rock-leaning band with an affinity for Built to Spill and expertly crafted songs. Next—and the one to make the biggest boom thus far—was Radkey, the punkish trio of brothers that no one can seem to get enough of right now. Now it is Scruffy and the Janitors’ turn to test the waters, to bask in the light. Scruffy (Steven Foster, Teriq Newton, and Trevin Newton) takes its love of ‘90s alternative bands like Mudhoney and Nirvana, blends them with The Animals, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and The Stones while embracing more recent garage acts such as The White Stripes and The Strokes. For good measure, Scruffy shakes some Skip James, Little Walter, and Son House in the mix for good measure. Driven by their debut release, last year’s Pino and an ever-solidifying live show, Scruffy is definitely a band to keep an eye in the future. The four will go all the way, if they don’t melt their amps first.
 
Stiff Middle Fingers, an action-packed local favorite, cover tunes from legendary bands from the world of punk like Stiff Little Fingers, Descendents, Black Flag, and Minor Threat as well as original tracks as skull rattling as “Common Cents,” “World Biggest Guillotine,” and “Psycho Bitch,” from last year’s million volt-charged debut Enemies with Benefits (see our review here). Frontman Travis Arey is a remarkable sight to witness as he runs around, microphone in hand, with the boundless energy of a hyperactive kid eating a 10-pound bag of sugar and doing lines with a pixie stick. Arey stands on tables, runs to the bar, having people sing along; he just wants you all to enter his world for an hour or so. He is the embodiment of Henry Rollins if Henry were ever in a good mood. The band behind him plays like there’s nothing left to lose. Cameron Hawk attacks his guitar, playing with the speed of a hummingbird, Barry Swenson’s bass work is as good as it is bowel shaking, and JP Redmon plays the drums like the bastard son of Bill Stevenson and the goddamned Energizer Bunny.
 
If you want to see where music is heading in the region, that there are indeed great bands out there willing to give all of themselves for the sake of the show and the crowd—be it five or five thousand strong, that care more about the music than their image, The Bottleneck is the place to be. If you like churned-out, radio-friendly “rock,” these probably are not the bands for you.
 
The Wednesday show will kick off at 8:00 pm with Black on Black, followed by Scruffy and the Janitors, and concluded by the explosive sounds of Stiff Middle Fingers. This is an all-ages show; cover is $5. Facebook event page here.
 
 
 
--Danny R. Phillips
 
Danny R. Phillips has been reporting on music of all types and covering the St. Joseph, MO music scene for well over a decade. He is a regular contributor to the national circulated BLURT Magazine and his work has appeared in The Pitch, The Omaha Reader, Missouri Life, The Regular Joe, Skyscraper Magazine, Popshifter, Hybrid Magazine, the websites Vocals on Top and Tuning Fork TV, Perfect Sound Forever, The Fader and many others. 
 

 

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