Gonerfest 2016 Day 1

My photos from Sept. 29, 2016, the first day of Gonerfest in Memphis, including the opening ceremonies at Cooper Young Gazebo with Nots and the nighttime show at the Hi Tone featuring emcee Jim Dandy, Hash Redactor, Chook Race, Counter Intuits, Useless Eaters, Fred & Toody and the Reigning Sound.

Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Nots
Jim Dandy
Jim Dandy
Hash Redactor
Hash Redactor
Hash Redactor
Hash Redactor
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Chook Race
Counter Intuits
Counter Intuits
Counter Intuits
Counter Intuits
Counter Intuits
Counter Intuits
Useless Eaters
Useless Eaters
Useless Eaters
Useless Eaters
Fred & Toody
Fred & Toody
Fred & Toody
Fred & Toody
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound
Reigning Sound

Also see:

My roundup of Gonerfest and my visit to Memphis

More Gonerfest 2016 photo galleries:

Day 2 daytime party at Memphis Made Brewing (LSDOGS, Kool 100s, Trampoline Team, Pity)

Day 2 nighttime show at Hi Tone (Opposite Sex, Aquarian Blood, Power, Buck Biloxi, Blind Shake, Black Lips)

Day 3 daytime party at Murphy’s (Casual Burn, Bloodbags, Fire Retarded, Archie & The Bunkers, Iron Head, Zerodent, Oh Boland, Bloody Show, The World, Spray Paint)

Day 3 nighttime show at Hi Tone (emcee Tom Scharpling, Couteau Latex, Sick Thoughts, Bloodshot Bill, Control Freaks, Midnight Snaxxx, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds)

Touring Ardent Studios with Jody Stephens

A visit to Al Green’s church

Photos of Memphis.

Reigning Sound at the Empty Bottle

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Greg Cartwright writes songs that could easily pass for classic nuggets from the era of ’60s garage bands. As the leader of Reigning Sound, he knows how to write, sing and play a tune that stomps with fierce energy, but he also has a soft touch when the moment calls for it. Reigning Sound’s records, including the outstanding new album Shattered, also include nods to soul music and string-laden pop ballads.

Cartwright (who has also played with the Oblivians, Parting Gifts and other bands) brought Reigning Sound to the Empty Bottle on Monday, Sept. 1, and the set felt like a nonstop hit parade. Fans packed the floor in front of the stage, dancing, swaying and singing along with one song after another. The Reigning Sound lineup on the new album includes Cartwright and longtime keyboardist Dave Amels, plus three newcomers, who are Amels’ bandmates in Brooklyn soul group The Jay Vons: Mike Catanese, Benny Trokan and Mikey Post. They’re a tight unit, perfect for Cartwright’s concise, subtle rockers.

There’s something matter-of-fact about the way Cartwright performs his songs in concert. There’s plenty of passion in his voice, but he doesn’t bother jumping around and making any rock-star gestures. He just delivers the songs. And what songs they are.

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Opening act Space Raft
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Opening act Sweet Talk
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Opening act Sweet Talk

The Parting Gifts at the Empty Bottle


The Parting Gifts is a band that brings together Greg Cartwright — the singer-songwriter-guitarist who’s been the guiding light of the Reigning Sound and played in the Oblivians before that — with Lindsay “Coco” Hames, lead singer of the Ettes. The new band doesn’t sound all that much different from the Reigning Sound, but that’s not a bad thing. Under both names, Cartwright produces a seemingly endless string of concise, melodic tunes influenced by ’60s garage rock. The difference with the Parting Gifts is that the lead vocals switch back and forth between Cartwright and Coco, who adds a girl group vibe. (That’s not surprising, considering that Cartwright also did a record with Mary Weiss of the Shangri-Las.)

Playing Friday at the Empty Bottle, the Parting Gifts made a strong case for the songs on their 2010 debut record, Strychnine Dandelions. As the set began, the band quickly buzzed through one tight, catchy rock song after another. Cartwright plays without a lot of fuss, keeping his guitar solos short and to the point. Coco’s a bit more lively, and her vocals were a key ingredient in the fun mix of sounds. The set lagged a bit at the end, as the band spent a little too much time between songs figuring out what to play, but it stayed fun whenever the music was going. It was the sort of music that made you want to shake a tambourine.

www.myspace.com/thepartinggifts





Opening act: Continental Breakfast

Opening Act: The Jay Vons

The Reigning Sound and Detroit Cobras at the Double Door

NOV. 19, 2005
The Double Door

An excellent double bill, with Reigning Sound frontman Greg Cartwright doing double-duty as guitarist for the Detroit Cobras. Both bands were great, but it’s the Detroit Cobras who had the better stage show, thanks to Rachel Nagy’s charisma… The first band of the night, Vee Dee, was pretty good, playing melodic pop-punk songs with some impressive guitar licks (maybe a little too much guitar virtuosity was on display, as a matter of fact).

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The Reigning Sound at Subterranean

JULY 1, 2005
THE TOUGH & LOVELY
CATFISH HAVEN
THE REIGNING SOUND
at Subterranean

Pity the band with that first opening-act slot… The musicians walk out onto the stage in front of a mostly empty dance floor, which will be packed with people later on the same night. Or so I was thinking as the first group got ready to play tonight. I wasn’t even sure what they were called (and despite the lead singer’s saying the name a couple of times, I wasn’t sure that they were the Tough & Lovely until I stopped by the merch table later).

But tonight it took all of about five seconds to recognize that the lead singer of the Columbus, Ohio-based Tough & Lovely, Lara Yazvac, has quite a voice — big and brassy, and totally in her control. And the band sounded pretty tight as it played some darn catchy songs, very much rooted in the sound of the early ’60s. With Yazvac on vocals, it was hard not to think of the classic girl groups from that era, though, not suprisingly, the Tough & Lovely are contemporary enough to add a touch of punk here and there. Some fine organ playing was part of the mix, too.

It was clear the Tough & Lovely won over the crowd, even though most people at Subterranean had never heard their music before.I just had to stop by the merch table afterward and buy a copy of the Tough & Lovely’s 2004 CD Born of the Stars. Sounds good on first listen. One standout track is the one called “Tough and Lovely” — carrying on the odd tradition of songs with titles that are the same or similar to the band name. This is definitely a band to watch.

Catfish Haven had the middle slot. I’ve seen this Chicago trio a few times, usually as an opening act, and I have trouble mustering much enthusiasm for their music. If I heard a short snippet from one of their songs, I think I’d say it sounded good, and some of the snippets might even sound great, but the lack of variety in their songs becomes a little tedious after a while. It’s all song at the same intense pitch, with lots of heavily strummed acoustic guitar on top of the bass and drums. I kept thinking that I might like this music better if these three musicians had some additional helpers to balance out the sound — maybe a real lead guitarist who could take solos, or a keyboard player, or a female singer. Anything to add something different.

The Reigning Sound are also a trio, and like Catfish Haven, they don’t really change up their basic sound that much during the course of a show. But their sound is so good, and their songs are so good, that it hardly matters.

Singer-guitarist Greg Cartwright plays with a no-frills set up — no effects pedals, no electric tuner. At the end of the show he played about four songs without bothering to fix a broken string. He didn’t even have a set list on the floor in front of him. He occasionally consulted a song list sitting behind him on an amp, but it seemed more like he was running through a list of available songs to see which ones they hadn’t played yet. A couple of times, the Reigning Sound obliged audience requests, and during the encore, Cartwright had to come over and tell the bassist the chords for a song they hadn’t rehearsed.

The fans loved it all, singing along with the Reigning Sound’s garage rock anthems. I can’t wait for their new album.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE TOUGH & LOVELY AND THE REIGNING SOUND.