It was more like a house party than a rock show. The beer was so cheap it was almost free. A big wooden spool used as a table was dotted with beanbag ashtrays just like Grandma had. Mismatched plastic lawn furniture baked in the sun. The only thing missing was a Slip'N Slide.
And everyone--from the Bettie Page girls and their Dickey-wearing, tattooed brethren to Carrie Bradshaw gals in jeans and heels and their khaki-shorted pals--could find something to like in the showroom or on the outdoor stage set up in the front parking lot. And the 12 bands onstage were equally diverse, from the tuxedo shirts and spacey guitars of Mur to Slick 57's trucker hats and songs about drinkin', standin' around and fallin' in and out of love (featuring new drummer Rob Schumacher from Sara Radle and Her Band).
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Black Tie Dynasty's set of dark Echo and the Bunnymen-inspired synth rock inside overlapped with This Damn Town's piano-topped rockabilly outdoors. New Style American Boyfriends packed the showroom with their straight-ahead rock and hot guitar licks. And the pomp and swagger continued outdoors with The Mullens' Tim Stile sporting Joey Ramone's looks and Mick Jagger's attitude. Lone Star Trio--reunited after 10 years--shut down the parking-lot stage as if they hadn't missed a day (the band is kicking off a series of shows and gearing up for a 22-song CD due in late August). Slowride, playing a few new songs along with tracks from Building a Building and favorites from As I Survive the Suicide Bomber, and Max Cady, with its ballsy rock and nimble guitar solos, brought the stragglers indoors to finish off the night.