A lot of bands are easily subdued by small crowds, and they play like it. The Riot Act rose to the occasion in a way that sorts them above many of their contemporaries. Clarke bent notes, crunched out chords, and commanded the stage like it was his property, singing all the while. The confidence the band exuded went a long way in making their '50s inspired rock sound convincing, and though they have a foot in the past, the sounds are far from the revivalist poseur fodder one might expect from a band of their ilk. If there is anything we were left wanting for, it would be more members on stage to fill out the sound a bit, but mostly to give Clarke the freedom to be a frontman that is less concerned with keeping the wheels from falling off and more focused on doing what he already does very well: Riling up a crowd.
Following The Riot Act, the Gun Hoes took the stage. Initially, the band's bassist was missing in action, and they played through a song without her, somewhat unceremoniously. She appeared on stage, unfortunately missing her bass strap and forced to stay seated for the set. The band played with energy, and the California-via-FTL garage sound they produced fit the bill quite well, though it was apparent that they weren't too excited to be following the Riot Act nor playing to a room so large and empty.
All things being what they are, the Gun Hoes' mix of surf riffs and abandoned yelling was still very much a highlight of the night, especially in comparison to what the rest of the event had to offer.
In a perfect world, the weak turn out would be indicative of a counter-culture that feels infiltrated by the corporate exploitation perpetrated by companies like Sailor Jerry Rum. However, in a world where just about everyone knows that
girl that thinks she's a breathing Vargas painting, it's far more likely that the word didn't spread wide enough, and while we're certain those that showed up enjoyed complimentary hangovers and a night of great rock 'n' roll, we highly doubt a calendar girl was sourced in South Florida on Friday.
100 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL