Published on July 14th, 2013 | by Joseph Climer0
Bass Drum of Death and Ex Cults: Charged with Punk in Drublic
by Joseph Climer
Oxford, Miss. (TLV) – Between Oxford local John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death solo set at End of All Music and the release party for Bass Drum’s second full length album at Proud Larrys’, July 12th could now be observed as a local holiday of punk tribute.
John showed up at End of All Music around 5 pm with only a guitar, a few effect pedals, and a bass drum. Chugging beer while he sound checked, he mumbled of not having played a solo show since back when he birthed Bass Drum of Death some four years ago. However, he mentioned, he was never really that good at it anyways, so, no pressure.
In the armpit of the New South, is a leather factory of broken windows and spare motorcycle parts, abandoned since the mid-70s. On a worn and ripped motorcycle seat lays a grease covered, long haired baby layered in cigarette smoke and sawdust, rumored to be the long lost lust child of Jack and Meg White, that is the instrumentation of John’s solo set. During the last song, he snapped a string just before the final solo, but improvised accordingly, never missing a note. That, my friends, is rock ‘n roll.
On to Proud Larrys’ that evening, EX-CULT, from Memphis, opened for Bass Drum’s release party. EX-CULT definitely brought a new flavor to Oxford’s music scene. Their modern mends of original underground punk rock transformed Larry’s into a pub basement, deep in the slums of Deep Ellum, Texas, only with less studded leather jackets and dyed mohawks. They did a fine job of bringing the usual still Oxford crowd out of their shell. Vocals like that of Johnny Rotten, guitar riffs haunting but beautiful, and a young lady who slapped bass like it was an ex-boyfriend. She slapped bass up so bad, that you’d wished she hadn’t slapped bass up so bad. A band dedicated to keeping their punk rock legends alive through the hard work of their calloused finger tips and raw vocal chords. It’s nice to see such a group on the rise.
One of the guys from End of All Music DJ-ed while Bass Drum set up. John Barrett (guitar, vox), Len Clark (drums), and Tracy Print (lead guitar) kicked off the set with a GB City classic, “Velvet Itch.” Before they even got a chance to play their new material, the heart of the crowd already gleefully shoved each other around, and it was then that I became a part of the best mosh pit I’ve seen at Proud Larrys’. Oxford’s crowd really got down, and staggered into a night of stomped toes, slung beer foam, and a failed attempt at crowd surfing by Oxford’s Dent May. As the massive swell of the crowd had just dispersed during Bass Drum’s “Get Found,” Dent soared from stage to crowd on a whim. I think I was the only one who caught him; needless to say, it just wasn’t crowd surfing season. We got back on our feet and raged on while Print slammed his guitar into his amp head over and over, looking for that desired tone that is the essentials of what Bass Drum of Death stands for. Hey, Bass Drum of Death and Oxford crowd, keep up the good work.
Bass Drum of Death’s debut album GB City and recently released self-titled album are both up for grabs at local End of All Music. Help keep not only local music alive, but also the physicality of music and pick up a copy.