Nashville Pussy Headlines Beachland Trifecta Of Great Artists

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May 24th, 2019

The Beachland Ballroom, in Cleveland's Waterloo Neighborhood, is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues here in the 216.  While not sporting the best of light sources for a photographer like myself, its homespun in-your-face immediacy of the musicians who are, literally, in your face during most engagements, gives the audience an up-close evening of entertainment for newer artists as well as legacy bands that come through Cleveland on an eighteen-or-so month rotation.

I recently saw Kiwi outfit The Beths there, as well as Scottish chanteuse KT Tunstall.  The acoustics are good for such a small venue, the beers plentiful (and inexpensive), and a good time is guaranteed through the diverse amount of acts that grace the main stage as well as the smaller, even more intimate Tavern.  Plus, who doesn't love the old school dive bar atmosphere that this little club has in spades? I especially like the men's room walls:  They're dotted with homemade posters advertising upcoming shows. How cool is that?

I gotta admit, I didn't know too much about any of the acts on the triple bill last night.  My buddy Tim said that I needed to check out Nashville Pussy, a garage rock "Pillbilly" outfit that extoled the virtues of Redneck Americana,  Think Ted Nugent's even more-hillbilly cousin and you'd have a close approximation of the quartet's provenance.  Founded in Atlanta in 1996, the half-male, half-female band plays a mixture of garage rock and "cowpunk," an interesting bouillabaisse of Skynyrd-styled rock and rockabilly-influenced punk.

Most of their tunes revolve around the drug culture, drinking and, with a name like Nashville Pussy, sex.  But don't let that one-note description fool you; these folks have the chops of a hard core band that churns out crowds that have followed this little outfit from their late '90s origins as an underground curiosity to a bonafide cult sensation.  Most of the folks in attendance were older, primarily white, and cheered when frontman Blaine Cartwright chugged right out of a fifth of Jack Daniels. 

Opening the set with the in-yer-face "Pussy Time," the crowd crowed as Cartwright was joined by bass player Bonnie Buitrago in a back-to-back hoedown of an anthem.  Followed up by such tunes as "Piece of Ass" and "We Want A War," every person hugging the stage followed along to the lyrics, word by word.

 

Lead guitarist Ruyter Suys shredded on her axe as her long blonde hair weaved through the fuchsia light.  I thought, on more than one occasion, that her long locks were going to get tangled in her guitar strings.

Closing out the fourteen tune set with "Go, Motherfucker, Go," the quartet exited the stage, leaving an empty bottle of Jack and several crushed PBR cans in their wake.  

Intermediary act Guitar Wolf, a Japanese mishmash of feedback-driven punk was a true WTF-did-I-just-witness display of late '50s American greaser, late '70s British punk rock, tied together with a dash of mid '80s Japanese anarchy.  Hugely popular in their native country, the trio was founded in 1987 and has recorded fifteen studio albums, appeared in several Japanese films, and covered dozens of American early Rock era tunes by the likes of Eddie Cochrane and Link Wray.

Considering the songs were sung in a guttural Japanese with an emphasis on staccato, almost-angry exclamations, it was a downright surreal experience.  At one point, bassist "Billy" cast off his bass and dove head first into the crowd.  It was an unexpected mosh-pit moment, when a band of late fifty-somethings, terrified, dropped their bottles of beer and put their hands up to stop the sweating, leather clad (and somewhat slippery) fifty-something bassist in a geriatric version of crowd surfing, from falling on their exposed heads.  As a photographer unused to seeing such events in a, well, older crowd, it was a moment of pure, unabashed Rock and Roll: Fuck the man.  And the insurance rider that someone probably ignored prior to diving off that three-foot high stage. Thankfully, no one dropped him and the audience members seemed to be no worse for the experience, expect for the looks of sheer terror that my camera, unfortunately, couldn't capture in the quick pace and low light of the venue.  However, it's given me a few moments of pure joy followed by a snicker or two as I recall the short blonde dropping her beer as this man launched himself, unexpectedly, into her personal three-foot-of-space bubble.

Opening the show was New York-based Turbo A.C.'s.  Sporting a high-intensity, 12,000 Hz sound, the twenty-four year old outfit offered a thirty-minute set of their hits.  Frontman Kevin Cole wailed on his guitar while drummer Mike-e pounded the skins in an effort to get the crowd worked up.  

The Beachland is consistently offering a wide array of artists; last night's trio of bands fell squarely into the punk/garage rock genre, and it's the most fun I've had at a show in quite some time.  The intimacy of the venue ( some Pabst Blue Ribbon, sans a can, sailed over my head into the crowd as Guitar Wolf's bassist Billy let the anarchy of the moment flow through him, Luckily, it didn't flow over me or my camera), made for an interesting night.  

Photos and Review by Brian M. Lumley

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