December 18, 2007

Let’s just say The Shondes embrace the unusual

Friday, Dec. 21Krazy Fest has a spawn, and the parents are the community that signs on to louisvillehardcore.com. They named this new, noisy tyke with a parody of the late, great indie festival.The setting for Crazy Feast might be a bit of surprise: Gattiland, so this Friday night extravaganza might be the truest incarnation of an “all-ages event” that the thrash-and-roar crowd has ever thrown.The bands are Lee Van Cleef, Jack a Dull Boy and This War Is Noise. If you plunk down the $15, you get their sets plus an absolute stockingful of stuff. The bumper cars will be free, same with the pizza and soda, and all admittants get $6.25 in game tokens.If “Heads Smashing Windshields” doesn’t inspire you to ride ever on bumper cars, then you might be overdue for that adrenaline injection straight into the heart muscle.The venue’s at 1108 Lyndon Lane, and the party starts at 9 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 22Brooklyn quartet The Shondes might be challenging as many conventions as possible, but they’re certainly not in it strictly for the glam.How do they separate themselves from the pack? Let us count the ways.There’s that so-direct name, of course (from a Yiddish term for “shame” or “disgrace”). And the politics — for example, charity gigs to benefit the West Bank advocacy group Jews Against the Occupation. But then you have to consider the transgender members — I’m not even going to get into introducing the individuals, because I don’t know if I can keep up with who would like to be addressed by which title.Let’s just call them Temim, Louisa, Ian and Elijah. Musically, they play punk in the Sleater-Kinney mold. Muscular guitar intertwines with multiple vocalists who are determined to cast warning or declare defiance with every phrase. But then there’s the violinist (Elijah) who isn’t the least bit shy about letting the instrument loose with snatches of traditional melodies (instead of “atmosphere”) amid two-chord carnage.You can’t go down to the store and sample their wares — first full-length The Red Sea is a January release. But as is usual these days, preview tracks are no further away than their MySpace page (myspace.com/theshondes).Who knows when The Shondes will take the stage, considering the other acts on the bill: The Scarlet Vail, Venus Trap and Vampire Squid. The Rudyard Kipling is at 422 W. Oak St. (636-1311). Show’s at 9 p.m., and tickets are $6. (If you’re under 21, check www.therudyrdakipling.com for its age policy on late shows.)Saturday, Dec. 22Scott Mertz knows what works well and how it should be kept in mind.Consider, if you will, how he reformed his band The Shinerunners. Mertz had this band going around 1999-2000. They were doing pretty good, but then life got in the way and they drifted apart. (Mertz himself went over to Cornbread Mafia.)After a catastrophic ATV accident put him in the hospital, the singer was piecing his life together. Eventually, he put pen to paper, as many songwriters do when the changes are traumatic.“The newer songs I was writing … I knew that they felt like Shinerunners songs.” So he met up with some of the former members, two of them hopped right onboard, and with a new drummer and a keyboard player, he says, “It fell back into place.” The place to see the “Mark II” Shinerunners is Pour Haus (1481 S. Shelby St., 637-9611). Mertz says of their sound, “We coined it ‘DonkeyTonk,’ but when people ask, I just say it’s ‘American music.’”Another example of Mertz holding onto good things is the story he tells of how his band connected with Ghostfinger, who’ll share Saturday’s bill.“We played in September at Highlands Festival, we got there early, and (Ghostfinger) were onstage playing as we unpacked. They’re real rootsy, and it was a no-brainer (that) we should be on the same bill. And this is just the first time it worked out for us. Hopefully, the first of many.”Richie Kirkpatrick leads Ghostfinger, which is part of the Murfreesboro scene that’s at the far edge of Nashville, in every sense of the phrase. Ghostfinger made itself widely known with a 2005 full-length These Colors Run, which includes some wild, tongue-in-cheek humor in an accomplished, eclectic set.When LEO asked him if he always includes their anthemic song “Rock” (We’re gonna rock/we’re gonna fuck/we’re gonna rock rock rock rock fuckin’ rock), he says, “Every night — except, sometimes we’ll get onstage, and I’ll say, ‘Let’s play all slow songs tonight.’ But when we play ‘Rock,’ and it gets to the song’s break … we always play something different right then. No one knows what it’ll be until I start in.”Of the song “Born on the Moon,” which was released as a single a few months back and will be on their next album (look for it early ’08), Kirkpatrick says, “That’s one of the songs that started out as a conversation within the band. We have our own mythology, where we’re from outer space.”The song also has something to do with how Creedence Clearwater Revival made the classic “Born on the Bayou,” when their background was really suburban San Francisco.Kirkpatrick has a serious warning to impart: At a recent gig, he had a karaoke machine brought out, and performing to his own tracks left him “with broken ribs — two of them. Or it might be a … pinched nerve. But I’ve had broken ribs before, and it feels like that.”Less fractured is Ghostfinger drummer Van Campbell, who’s a local. His blues duo Black Diamond Heavies play the Pink Door (2222 Dundee Road, 413-5204) at 8 p.m. Friday. Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com