Archive for the ‘country’ Category

Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at The Mercury Lounge; Nov. 8, 2007

November 10, 2007

By the time I moved to the East Village in 1982, the punk rock scene was gasping its final breaths. I was able to catch the occasional slamdance at the A7 Club, but for the most part, punk was a goner. Last night, however, I got a nostalgic whiff of those days of high-volume, low-technique thunder music by seeing Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at Th’ Mercury Lounge.

For over an hour, the quartet slashed through one psychopunkabilly blues song after another. Leading the motley foursome is J.D., a wiry sociopath who would launch the occasional mucus missile into the crowd, then stand, chin out, begging for retaliation. Imagine a Sid Vicious from Kentucky. J.D. also “sang” and played a manic blues harmonica. He thrashed about the stage with an unpredictability that defied you to look away-even for a second. He was shirtless and sweating rivers before the end of the third song.

The guitar player, stationed to J.D.’s right, looked like a love child of Cosmo Kramer and Abraham Lincoln whose formula had been spiked with crystal meth. He wore a white wife-beater, which barely covered his thoroughly tattooed chest. He never said anything during the show, but banged out his licks with reckless fury.

The bass player looked like a high-school linebacker ten years after his prime. He slapped his stand-up, “shit house” bass without mercy or reprieve. The drummer was equally aggressive, and soaked by the end of the show, thanks to the occasional dousing with water J.D would give his snare. The band was strong and tight, but the undeniable star of the Shack Shakers was the monkey in the middle.

J.D. skirted about the stage like a rabid minstrel. He sneered, he taunted, he would sing through the harp mic, sometimes even putting it to the side of his throat, delivering his vocals like an emphysema patient. On the few occasions when he spoke to the crowd, his southern roots came shining through. He preached with the persuasive eloquence of a twisted televangelist.

By the time my friend Bill and I hit Houston Street, we were exhausted. We had had our shacks shaken by th’ (I have no idea what the abbreviation is all about) professionals. I don’t think this band will ever make it big–it’s very difficult to imagine them bringing their brand of intensity to a large venue–but damn, they were fun.