Live Picks! with Tony Porreco
I’m about five months into writing Live Picks!, and I think I deserve a break. So shoot me: I’m taking a “me” day on this one. Forgive my candor, but Drunk Tigers is the kind of band I would write up every week if only I were a little less self-aware of my punk/pop roots, and was totally okay with becoming the guy who highlights exclusively punk-ish acts: The rhythm section is bold and brash, there’s intriguing yell/sing-y vocals, but in the end, the bulk of the real melodic action lies in the manic, adventurous guitar playing. And that’s the connection between me and a lot of my favorite rock artists, this desire to stir up excitement via catchy, frenetic squalls of electric guitar.
Admittedly, I kinda rushed you there, so I’ll help you up out of my passion pit and let you clean yourself off while I cover some back story on the band. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Drunk Tigers formed in 2008, and released a small handful of EPs. In 2012, following 2 years of “indefinite hiatus”, primary members Matt Bierce (vocals/guitar) and Zach Carter (guitar/vocals) have fielded a new rhythm section and are back at it this year, playing a number of local shows in the past two months, each in quick succession of one another.
Anyway, back to the music. Drunk Tigers actually opened for my snot-rock heroes Cloud Nothings at a 2010 show in Charlottesville, and they certainly fit that bill. The tunes are fast, straight ahead, and replete with winding guitar lines. They’re also not afraid of the occasional abrasive change up: “Lessons, Hurricane” sports a section with a deliciously malevolent repeating chord change, and “Outer Banks Inner Peace” moves back and forth between a couple benign arpeggios and some great Pavement/slacker-stomp guitar freak outs.
My favorite track of all their offerings, however, is a number called “Photos of Sad Brokers”, which is a wild ride, start-to-finish. Some nifty features include a nitro-propelled intro section, and an abrupt tempo U-turn at the start of the first verse. Then immediately prior to the chorus, you get a guitar riff that rips off Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” note-for-note, but the effect is delightfully familiar, rather than offensive. There’s also the chorus’ lyric “It’s not my birthday / It’s not my problem”, which I can’t make heads or tails of, but the disconnect between the two topics leaves me grinning nonetheless.
I plan on taking a second “me” day on Thursday to see them open for Arum Rae, who’s an Austin-based psych-blues songstress. This is one of those shows where I want to know every song and jump up and down accordingly. My enthusiasm and I will be there. You and yours should too.
Post script: Until last year, Drunk Tiger member Matt Bierce performed in another band called Infinite Jets, which (I hope!) is a pun on Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace’s awesome novel of epic length (it’s so long it weighs 5 lbs. [unless you have it on Kindle like me, in which case, I guess it weighs 10.2 ounces]).