City Water Bandits, The Places, Deadbeat Betties, The Static

Emerson Theater

Friday, Nov. 12

A cold night in the middle of November definitely wasn’t my first guess for a musical epiphany, but spending that Friday at the Emerson was well worth it. I didn’t expect much of an audience because most of the usual group — faces you see at every show and any venue — were in Chicago; however, everybody who stayed in town showed up.

City Water Bandits started off the show, but even though people sang along — especially when they covered Cock Sparrer’s song “Argy Bargy” — the crowd seemed bored and there was barely any movement, though by the third band I ran into someone and he started throwing punches.

The Places followed with a good set and the audience started to wake up in time for Deadbeat Betties, now short one of their guitarists, and from what I could understand, he either moved to Canada or was standing right next to me.

Then The Static came on, self-proclaimed as Alabama’s prettiest band and with both the Dead Boys and New York Dolls as influences, the singer had enough attitude to make Stiv Bators cry. Of course, all their makeup was perfect. Their set was one of those few instances where the band seems to genuinely enjoy what they’re doing and I’ve never seen so much energy, with maybe The Slurs as the only band even coming close. There were handfuls of glitter flying through the air and when they started to play “All This and More,” a Dead Boys cover, there was this wave of panic through the crowd as everybody fought to get to the microphone that Brandon, the singer, was holding out to the audience.

They were finishing up their last song and I was about to put away my camera but decided to take one more little movie — just in time to see Brandon turn and charge at the guitarist, both of them flying into the drum set, cymbals flying (as well as the guitar) and the front falling off the bass drum, the drummer still playing even as his set fell apart around him before throwing down his sticks and walking off.

I headed to Bloomington to see them the next night, just to make sure I really saw what I thought. When I saw Brandon crawling around on the floor, eyes halfway rolled back and blood all over his face, the only words that came to mind were, “Holy shit, THIS is rock ’n’ roll.” I went up to the drummer and one guitarist — both named Cody, apparently — and made some comment about glitter in my hair because I didn’t know what else to say. They just smiled like they’re used to that reaction.

“You’re welcome.”

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