Unfortunately, like many acts at Sam Bond’s Garage, Skool Boy Jim’s sound check took about an hour. Fortunately, when he was done, he rocked his socks off! Literally; the man played with no shoes. He also played guitar, drums, harmonica, and sang. Also fortunate was my discovery of Oakshire’s Hibernator, which I had a couple of…and which I am completely devastated to discover is only a single batch brew and am now committed to consuming my body weight in Hibernator as frequently as possible until it runs out. This one man band was accompanied by a percussionist who wore a washboard that could only be described as medieval war armor. And as he played upon his chest and swayed his body back and forth in a rhythmical trance, I realized that more instruments should be played upon one’s own body. Jim strategically and magically placed multi-colored Christmas lights in his kick drum which mirrored the feel good sounds this guy was producing, which also may have led to a complete shit show of a few drunk dancers for most of his set but I’m going to hand over that win to Meth. Skool Boy Jim exudes the warmth of southern soul music and the pop of northeast bluegrass and jazz, and featured some oldies but goodies that most audiences can appreciate. Listening to Jim’s cover of “Death Don’ have no Mercy” by Reverend Gary Davis, I pictured myself in a speakeasy somewhere drinking illegal alcohol and doing the Charleston. This cover would also be well suited for the credits reel at the end of a Trueblood episode.
Up next was Yeltsin who had a two minute sound check which knocked my socks off and they were up and running in no time. Tonight proved to be one of Yeltsin’s successful performances, showcasing their rock/ska energy and years of playing together with a seamless set. The trio was completely in sync, though I was disappointed that the sound guy was not paying attention to the lack of vocals coming from both Dana and Chuck, which, when heard, carries a playful and harmonic vibe throughout each song. Jake’s vocals were loud and clear and slightly Julian Casablancas, and his custom Guild spoke heavenly words during “Oceanic Nights.” He lets his guitar strings hang out and his ever increasing talent gives him the right to do so. On a different note, seeing Yeltsin always makes me feel that if a Yeltsin were a creature instead of a Russian President, it would be Jake and it would be directly related to the teddy bear creatures featured on Grateful Dead memorabilia and leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that I want to give Jake a gigantic bear hug. Also in the same species: Ewoks, Leprechauns, and the members of ZZ Top.
And then there was Unicron. Seeing the band members wander around the venue I was actually very excited to see what they had to offer. Their name is original and two members featured animal headdresses; one of a white unicorn and one of a bear with a unicorn horn. Topping the image off, the lead singer/Jonah Hill wore Blues Brothers regalia and if it were up to just looks I’d be a fan, even though he also left his front tooth at home, and apparently so did his brother? (Who was in the audience.) But it’s not. They started off the show with some Merry (Fucking) Christmas sentiments and the lead guitarist with the bear head broke into an electric version of Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D” Trans-Siberian Orchestra style. I was impressed and elated (I walked down the aisle to this song) until the bassist and frontman started yelling something with the word Fuck in it over and over, and we all know my sentiments for bands that are only familiar with the F-bomb. Mixing Christmas and my wedding day with “let’s fuck” and “fuck you” makes even my heathen soul uneasy. I had finally decided that the unicorned bassist might actually be decent at screamo when the lead singer shouted “if they don’t like it they can suck my balls” and I politely declined the offer and went home.