October 28, 1997
Alright Mobile, it's the madhatter back for another installment of the streetbeat. Let me start off by saying the Phunk Junkeez were in THE HOUSE at Monsoon's on October 18. If you missed this last show, you missed a party. Along with opening bands Incubus and Shootyz Groove, Monsoon's had a crowd pushing the limits of insanity. There was plenty of crowd surfing and mosh pitting going on to satisfy the hunger of any rocker. The Phunk Junkeeez played a set full of classic old school and an impressive selection of new songs that will be out on a new CD this January. One of the new ones titled "Adrenaline" made it to the movie soundtrack of An American Werewolf in Paris. All I have to say is Soulman knows how to grab a crowd and put them in high-energy overdrive. About mid-way through their set, Soulman crowd surfed through the raging audience with breast stroke motions, making him look like he was swimming. Later he made his way on top of the crowd to the top of speakers to sing a Phunk Junkeez rendition of the annoying Blur song that frequents the radio way too much.
Keep your eyes out for more cool shows to come. Including the featured band this week, Six String Drag, coming on Nov. 6.
Okay, here goes the "Madhatter Tip-Top Five" for the next two weeks. At number five comes the one and only Prince to play the "Jam of The Year" at the Mobile Civic Center on Halloween. Number four goes to The Artist Formally Known as Prince to play The Mobile Civic Center on Halloween. Coming in at a close third is The Weird Symbol, formerly known as Prince before formally known as The Artist Formally Known As Prince, or something like that, also playing the Mobile Civic Center on Halloween. At number two this week is the "Jam Of The Year" featuring The Artist formally known as ... yadi, yadi, yadi, on Halloween at the Mobile Civic Center. And now for the "Madhatter Tip-Top Five" number one show to see in the next two weeks, you guessed it, The Artist appearing at The Mobile Civic Center on Halloween. All joking aside, this should prove to be the show of the decade for Mobile, maybe two decades!! I can only imagine what tricks The Artist has up his sleeve for the Halloween show. Sorry all you hardcore fans out there, I couldn't resist the chance to be a royal smart ass. Don't worry, I will be at the show singing along with every song, while my pocketbook cries.
That is exactly the question I asked myself as I listened to their debut CD HIGH HAT. At first listen I started having country flashbacks of being trapped at a never-ending Billy Ray Cyrus concert. Then I played the CD backwards and my dog, my car, and my wife (that I don't have) didn't come back to me. Obviously, they passed the Country Acid Test. After a few more listens, tones of bands like Widespread Panic and Phish became apparent. That is not to say they sound like those guys, but the experimental fusion of several musical styles puts Six String Drag in the same ballpark. Throughout the 14-song CD, I could tell these guys weren't limiting themselves to any one particular genre. Their singer and main songwriter Kenny Roby sums it up perfectly in their promotional material.
"There was never any kind of conscious plan to play any particular style," Roby recalls. "It all just kind of grew out of the influences we were absorbing and the songs we were writing. We're still quite impressionable; we still try to experience different kinds of music, and different things rub off. We've had so many different members and so may different kinds of instrumentation that even when people leave, they always leave a little bit of an influence behind."
Throughout HIGH HIT there is an underlying rock foundation that ties in altogether all the other musical influences. Songs like "Cold Steel Brace" come across very strong. It has a familiarity that makes you wonder if you've heard it before on the radio. Other songs like "Elaine" border the line of country, but in a sing-along kind of way, like you would hear at the beach sipping on some Corona's. Of course, with the way modern country has gone, it could very well be a single on the DAWG.
There is real sense of fun in Six String Drag. Even the songs that talk about someone pointing the finger and putting the blame, like on "Guilty," there is a happy-go-lucky feel portrayed. Six String Drag's vocals on the HIGH HAT release range from a country-fried Grateful Dead/Phish to the more rocking Drivin' N' Cryin'/Counting Crowes. Musically the guys touch on country, blues, classic rock and a touch of bluegrass. If you like Widespread Panic, Phish and all the other bands mentioned, these guys are one to pick up. Don't miss them live at Monsoon's on November 6.