The Back Pockets at Propaganda, January 5

Photo by Reed Fischer
The Back Pockets
With Weird Wives, the Dewars, and the Band in Heaven
Propaganda, Lake Worth
Wednesday, January 5, 2010

Countless locals who couldn't wait until the weekend to play in oncoming traffic were in attendance for a befuddling Wednesday night at Propaganda. Not to say that any of this was unexpected.

The Back Pockets were the obvious, spectacular draw of the evening. At least a dozen strong, the Atlanta troupe packed the entire stage with giant plush bananas, bags of toffee, and, er, instruments for its performance. This was Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros modeling a line of adult diapers (eat your heart out, Of Montreal), or CocoRosie's family reunion, take your pick.
Photo by Reed Fischer
This diapered fella captured the whole set.

As for the music itself, it was merciless and tight. Banjo and keyboard player Emily Kempf sat or stood atop her amplifier at the center of the maelstrom of twisted youth and seemed in complete control for the entire evening. Although it might be easy to focus too hard on the possibly chemical-enhanced hugging, thrashing tantrums in the crowd, and brushes with wardrobe malfunctions, this is a band camp experiment gone particularly right from the perspective of a listener. Will there be another folk act with machine gun drums and rippling feedback sweeping from the banjo amp, we hope not, because this is the only one we need. For the final bacchanalian number of the set, the Back Pockets handed out drumsticks (not the edible kind) and got the crowd snapping them together along for the droning, hypnotic closer.

Boy, but did this level of weirdness set the bar high for the Weird Wives, the final act of the night. With only the drum set on the stage, and the remainder of the West Palm Beach noise-punk outfit in the crowd, the intensity was bubbling over so much that drummer Marcos Marchesani busted his kick drum pedal one song into the set, and proceeded to lay waste to the entire bass drum he was dealt for the evening. After a long, feedback-soaked wait, the barrage of "Sativa Diva" brought a momentary focus to a disorienting and chaotic set. Frontman Nick Klein performed a good portion of it standing on the bar while knocking down anything in his path, standing behind the bar and swigging the well bottles of booze, and pressing his bare belly on any other surface Propaganda had to offer.
Photo by Reed Fischer
Blurry, behind-the-bar bedlam at Propaganda courtesy of Weird Wives' Nick Klein.

It was big, somewhat dumb, and the deafening roar from guitarist Thomas Fekete and bassist Brian Black was close to the least voluminous of it all -- considering the blistering energy flying every which way. As a fan of the band (particularly its mesmerizing performance on Halloween), it's safe to say that this was not the tightest performance of Weird Wives' career. But it could have been the fiercest.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: Some folks with greasy hair. Members of Surfer Blood, Guy Harvey, the Jameses, the Clementines, Sumsun, Viva Le Vox, among others. Revelers.

Random Detail: During a trip to the men's room before the Back Pockets began their set, one member of the troupe was using the urinal next to me -- in spite of his adult diaper.

Random Detail 2: A girl wearing a rubber ducky flotation device around her waist accidentally kicked me in the stomach as she was hoisted up during the madness of the Back Pockets. Turns out she agressively sells merch for them when she doesn't have a pacifier in her mouth.

Personal Bias: This was probably one of the finest shows -- visually, sound-wise, and gut-wise -- I've ever seen at Propaganda. The review doesn't even touch the virtuosity displayed by shoegaze-garage rock act Band in Heaven earlier in the evening. Singer Ates Isildak was correct in his assertion that it was "the best we've ever sounded," from the interplay between him and keyboardist-vocalist Lauren Dwyer, the highly focused squelch out of the amp, and a cameo by Surfer Blood's J.P. Pitts on drums. As well, the Dewars dealt a fleshed-out, polished set that wasn't derailed for a second by a broken guitar string. Clearly, extensive touring has molded these gents into a preeminent live act for South Florida or anywhere, for that matter.

Location Info



6 S. J St., Lake Worth, FL

Category: Music

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I just loved your show & want you to come back here to South Florida so we can have another show with you wild & crazy diapered cuties!! I was happy to be a hotel for you & tried not to wake you up early in the morning, so I tiptoed around outside while 20 bodies slept in my house:) Hope you liked your bagels & fruit & sorry I couldn't say good bye! Y'll did a great job of cleaning up before you left, so THANK YOU...made the Dewar boys job easier & my 'skinny coffee' party went well thursday night. I wanted to give you my card, cause I think you liked that 'fat burning' coffee, so here is my email address incase you want to order (2 of my sisters in Atlanta have it, so you can always get some from them since you live there. I will be there on the 22nd of Jan for a few days.Y'll are FABULOUS & loved having you here! cathy dewar, aka "Mom" as I seem to be alot of people's mom :)


Upon arriving at Propaganda I was astounded at the sight of what appeared to be the magical mystery tour bus. When I saw some of the costumes in the crowd, it made sense. When I realized the messy-haired costumed-beings were The Black Pockets, it made even more sense -- they have been touring on a bus and obviously absent from the presence of showers. That could also explain why almost every male member was wearing a diaper. Setting up on stage it would appear as though 12 patients were let loose from a mental institution and given instruments on their way out -- apart from the few who were only given pacifiers and inner-tubes. The music was good and very different from any shows I have seen in a while and a nice combination of instruments! Definitely glad I went.

Weird Wives was insane. Well, at least the singer was. I think I heard him mutter something about "murder" and then as he hovered over me on top of the bar, I could just imagine him toppling over and smashing me. Somebody put that guy on a leash.

On a side note, the Dewars brothers are adorable. I think I hugged one of them.

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