Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by Joseph Climer0
All Aboard for Gypsy Camp ’13 (a review by Joseph Climer)
As the bar of Proud Larry’s began to fill up, back in the dark alley, a jangled racket of knocked over trash cans and the soaring sound of beaming light rattled up the alley and around our ear drums. Curious, we tuned in and followed the sound around the corner only to see a landed spaceship, causally disguised as a 1976 primer grey school bus. So, naturally, we called all aboard and set sail for Gypsy Camp 2013. Unfortunately, it turned out they were having car trouble, so the questionably outer galactic gypsy troopers just set up camp on the stage of Proud Larry’s. We welcomed them with the southern warmth of brown liquor.
Gypsy Camp 2013 is a tour pieced together by a few of Nashville’s finest young fellows. Since July 4th, these troubadours have hit the open air of the western hemisphere face first, traveling mostly throughout the central and southern parts of the country. July 20th, at Proud Larry’s, they played their final show before returning back to Nashville. I feel the overall relieving excitement of all four bands slowly realizing they had reached the end of a successful tour played really well into the performances of the evening. The fact that they all knew they’d be shitting in their own toilets the next day transcribed into a good ole night of the ancestry sounds of the south. No more porter potty blues.
Billy Swayze kicked off the night, accompanied by a backing band of Nashville. It was still pretty early and the dance floor was spacious, but you would have never been able to tell, watching the band play. There’s nothing worse than a weak crowd turnout dampening the performance of a show, and this was not the case. Billy howled soulful harmonies that grabbed the attention of the bar full of reuniting sorority moms, as the dance floor began to fill. It’s not hard to tell that the soul naturally takes its toll on every aspect of the music, from the wholesome truth of loneliness, to the acoustics of a hardened broken heart. Pick up a copy of his album, Good Stuff through www.billyswayze.com
The Gills were up next. Their set began with what seemed to be just old fashion rock ‘n roll. Lightly overdriven rhythm, a soothing bass line, tightly knitted percussions suddenly unraveled before our eyes, and progressed into a cymbal splash of dark lyrics and darker bar chords behind a stuttering bass thump. Each song held out its own oddly progressive structure, and they held it well. Their build ups were humbling and damn near startling, just as you thought the jam was about to tear the roof off of Proud Larry’s and everyone be abducted by barefoot cosmic beings, they pulled it all back down to just the soft strum of an electric guitar. The front man cried softly What an ordinary day to die.
Their music available for free on their website. Donations are appreciated. www.thegills.bandcamp
Blackfoot Gypsies, a dynamic duo, a gruesome twosome, a speeding honky tonk train off the rails, blazing trails all of its own. The drummer knocked out a rolling jazz beat and they were off. Steel guitar slides shivered in behind purely distorted finger picked blues rock. The drummer ran out a few track meets on his bass pedals throughout consistently wicked drum counts, viciously picked solos of graciously offset psychedelia, and the endless and open range of vocals that mended into the grungy, flaringly progressive blues like fresh roots in aged soil. A sincere performance of grit, charisma, and dedication. If you have a soft spot for the re-flourishing of modern southern blues, if you’ve ever wondered what Bob Dylan might have sounded like, had he never smoked a cigarette, if you’re still waiting on the White Stripes reunion show, hitch a ride with Blackfoot Gypsies. Their most recent release, On the Loose is available on vinyl, as well as being digitally downloadable at www.blackfootgypsies.bandcamp.com
The Jag brought southern undertones all their own. While they dabble in the blues scale, they cling tighter to original rock ‘n roll, with influences from all over the globe. But with three of the core members being Mississippi natives, they have no choice but to let their roots take hold. Nature must run its course, and The Jag has grasped this concept and run with it. Psychedelic builds form pillars of salt, then comes the warm splash of the breakdown and drowning sounds of soul behind gritting teeth, before the shifting tide of Jag drifts you back to shore of Old Man River. During the peak of a sound wave, spilt beer made its way to the center of the floor. So, naturally, we danced in beer puddles until the sun came up (or at least until the bar closed). Don’t forget to check out The Jag’s album, Mississippi Acid Pine Highway Tour, at www.jagmusic1.bandcamp.com