Perhaps it was the first time you heard Led Zeppelin on your best friend’s older brother's record player. It was the summer between 7th & 8th grade & Becky Moon had said she didn’t want to spend the summer with you. The depth of Jimmy Paige and his Les Paul had you transfixed as Whole Lotta Love made you feel alive and naughty. Or perhaps it was Tommy Iomi chugging through hell as Supernaut ripped your jeans in 7th grade. You forgot about Becky Moon or her new boyfriend who played football. You just wanted to find a guitar. It didn't have to be a Tele or a Les Paul, it just needed to have 6 strings and an amp. You saved money, you scoured Uncle Henry's looking for the rare find. And when the Dan Electra showed up in Holowell for 50 bucks with a tiny Gorilla amp with the paint chipped off, you asked your parents for a ride to get it. Of course, they refused, but you were persistent and they caved. And the summer between 7th and 8th grade you learned how to play Supernaut, & Smoke on the Water, & Iron Man. You would play until your fingers bled. You made friends that played music and soon there were three other boys in your garage all blooming and playing rock'n'roll. This is what it was all about. You dreamed of playing at the State Theater sometime when you were taller and had long hair. You dreamed of touring across the country, playing music in bars and clubs, but you weren't old enough to drink, you weren't old enough to drive. But this was rock'n'roll and it was being made in a garage. And there was never going to be a time in your life where things were so close to perfect. And later in college when you were watching Mike Leighs “Naked” at four in the morning, because everyone needs a ‘study break’ at four in the morning, and the irritating main character says “What if you’ve already had the happiest moment of your life and all you can look forward to is sadness and purgatory?” You were instantly brought back to that summer in the mid 80s and nothing mattered but the sounds and feels of the garage band you played in.
Xander Nelson and his four piece play garage rock. It sounds like what you thought you sounded like that summer in the mid 80's. And Xander jumps around, he laughs with his band, he looks over his shoulder at Manny Urgiles as he cranks into the dissonant feedback. He jumps to the thump of the kick drum, the heartbeat, and who is that older guy that's pounding the kit with these young bucks. Don't be fooled, Chuck Martin is a real pro, he's been around the sun a few times, but he's played the stages you used to dream of, and he's still keeping that beat, he's living that dream. And then you hear Kristian Terison manipulate the thicker strings, the thicker notes, the depth that you never had, but how could you at the teenage transition, you hadn't lived through it yet.
Xander Nelson assembled this crew, through the Berklee School of Music connectivity web. They use those chops to give the garage rock they are creating a complicated conditioning. It will remind you why rock'n'roll is so powerful in its original sin. And how it can create monsters from the paint spilled on the garage floor.
They are playing at Empire Friday, and again at Sunaana. You should check him out. He has so much fun. As will you.