The last time I saw a tall, skinny white kid with a tawny skater haircut (bangs to one side), a dress shirt buttoned to his neck, and khaki pants was in high school. I went to an all-boys Catholic school. In the Northeast. In the late 1980s. Seeing this guy a couple of weeks ago at The Boiled Owl Tavern rock a cherry SG (strapped across his chest) and lead a trio through ragged, angular, melodic yet anti-poppy garage-rock made my old ass feel right at home. Ah, the best of both worlds. I pretended to re-live my glory days while behaving like an adult (drinking booze in a bar, not beneath the bleachers at the ball field) with an adult’s (good) taste in music.
The prep’s name, I came to discover (read: I searched Facebook), is Brandon Woodward (sadly, not “Brandon Woodward III”), and his band is The Fluorescents. And they’re really good. They’re loud and clanging, pounding out songs built around transcendental grooves laced with melody and fueled by locomotive stomp. It’s garage-rock but a garage covered in New York Dolls and Sex Pistols graffiti.
The Fluorescents have been around for about two years. After Woodward returned to his hometown of Grand Prairie after several years in self-imposed exile (Providence, R.I.), he started jamming with two best buds from high school, bassist Daniel Foreman and drummer Jake Sexton. About a year ago, they put out a demo. This fall, they’re going to put out an EP. Rough John will be the result of working with new friend Peter Wierenga, drummer for the experimental-country Fort Worth group Patriot. Along with second guitarist Taylor Potson, Wierenga is now a full-time member. And The Fluorescents seem to have reached their apotheosis. I’m glad I caught them when I did and not any sooner. And where I did. The day before I’d popped into the Owl for a, uh, “meeting” and was treated to The Goonies. I saw that movie when it came out. In 1985. When I was a 7th grader. With khaki pants, dress shirts, and curtained haircuts of my own.
I may be the oldest dude at Shipping & Receiving (201 S. Calhoun St., 817-343-6393) on Sunday, when The Fluorescents will perform as part of SXFW with Delicate Steve, Celestial Shore, mothercoat, Cleanup, Pageantry, ONWE, Hikes, Fou, and Icarium. But I won’t care. Cover is $10.
Last to Leon?
Now that the whole world’s on his jock, I’d like to say that we’ve had the best (firm, not too rough) grip on Leon Bridges since the get-go. Long before our profiles, short (“Wonderful World,” Aug. 27, 2014) and long (“Retro Rocket,” Dec. 30, 2014), and waaay before the local press woke up and the international blogs were spoonfed his music by his new label (a little outfit called Columbia Records), I invited Bridges to the studio to perform a song for the 2014 version of Frequencies, our annual compilation CD of select Music Awards nominees’ music that we sell for charity at our annual Music Awards Festival. And online. On my Soundcloud page, his contribution, “Lisa Sawyer,” has been listened to 13,407 times (as of this writing), liked 129 times, and shared 26 times. (I bet that all of the local “critics” who didn’t think our disc was important enough to write about are kicking themselves now!) (They’re not. I just checked.) Anyway, as fantastic as the listens and likes are, the track has been purchased from my Bandcamp page only seven measly times. For a grand total of $3.16 to go toward last year’s charity sponsor, the Tarrant Area Food Bank. So. If bragging on Leon helps the food bank –– $1 means five meals –– then brag I shall do.
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