Any time it is cold and rainy, with a chance of snow, on a Friday night, the odds of me getting out are about as good as me not wanting to punch Nancy Grace in the face. However, if there is one thing that will get me out of the house and defy the elements it is a great band with the promise of a fun show. The band that fits that description is American Aquarium.
At the beginning of 2010 if you had asked me what I thought of American Aquarium I would have responded with "Who?". If you asked me the same question at the end of 2010 the reply would have been "My favorite new band of 2010". While they are not a new band, they were to me and ranked #2 on my Ipod's played list for the year. (The top honor once again goes to the Drive By Truckers). I arrived at 12th & Porter a little early as I was thinking that AA were first to play on the triple bill. I was going to watch them and go home so I still had plans to be in bed somewhat early, something every lazy man strives for. Once I got there, I found out they were the second band to go on and this turned out to be a good thing as Zach Williams and the Reformation were opening the show. Ladies and gentlemen.....Southern Rock is alive and well These guys looked and sounded like they stepped out of the good part of the 1970s music scene. If Skynyrd and the Black Crowes produced a love child it would be Zach Williams and the Reformation. This was another case of me not being familiar with a bands material but after reviewing their website I think a lot of the music they played may be from an upcoming album. They did mix in a cover of 30 Days In The Hole and nailed it. Zach Williams has the voice for this genre and the whole time I was watching him I couldn't help but think he moved like Chris Robinson while looking a bit like Kevin Nash. The bass player, Red Dorton, has a definite rock star stage presence as well. This is a band I will be keeping an eye on.
By the time American Aquarium came out the place was packed. The headliners, The Delta Saints, were having their CD release party but there were a good number of AA fans in the crowd as well. The band did not disappoint. When you watch American Aquarium you get the impression that they put it all out there if they are playing for a sold out show like this one or if they were in your backyard. They kicked the show off with one of my favorites, "Katherine Bell", and pretty well stuck to the more up tempo tunes. Most of the setlist came from their CD "Dances For The Lonely", and included "Ain't Going To The Bar Tonight", "Louisiana Beauty Queen", "Good Fight", and "I Hope He Breaks Your Heart". When BJ sings "I Hope He Breaks Your Heart" he sings with with such emotion you can't help but want to give him a hug and hope that her life is miserable. A new song, "Redheads and Adderall" was mixed into the set (see video I shot below) and hopefully we will hear this on the next CD. They closed the show with "Clark Ave." This song should be to them what Rock And Roll All Night is to KISS. This is the perfect song to close it out and they brought the house down with it. It has a very honky tonk feel to it and I have no doubt that Mickey Gilley would be proud. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, hearing them perform it, or watching the band enjoy themselves so much on stage as they played it.
I hope to see American Aquarium headline in Nashville soon so I can see them play a full set. BJ is a great front man and his between song banter was hilarious. I am not sure why a girl would date him now because at some point they are going to become a song. I also got to meet Jay, Kevin, and Ryan and you couldn't meet a nicer bunch of guys. They are a band that truly appreciates the fans. Jay made me feel good by being the only guy there that was probably older than me and for the record, he can wear out a B3. One of the great tragedies of the music industry will be if these guys go unnoticed. They have great talent, great songs, and the drive to succeed. We as music fans should be embracing them so they will be around for many years to come. Buy their CDs, go to their shows, and most of all, tell some friends about them.