Concert Reviews

Last Night: Slowride at Elm Street Tattoo

Elm Street Tattoo
October 14, 2009

Better than:
going under the needle.

It'd been some time since the fellas in Slowride had played an actual show together--but with an upcoming gig slated at local tattoo artist Oliver Peck's annual Christmas party and with all members in town (thanks to bassist Rob Marchant's Riverboat Gamblers gig at the Double Wide on Sunday night), the dormant trio of Dan Phillips, Marchant and Steve Visneau, decided to get together for a quick rehearsal on Wednesday night.

Actually, they'd planned to do the exact same on Thursday night, too. But when Peck caught wind of that fact, he invited the trio to hold their practice at his Elm Street Tattoo parlor. Thus the idea of the band's last-minute, secret reunion gig was born.

Turns out it was quite the time, too, as more than 50 people showed up in the cramped, makeshift performance space to check out the post-punk act's brutally loud set.

The informality of it all surely helped the case. And Phillips made sure to remind the audience throughout the night, this was just a practice, really.

"Thanks for coming to our band practice," Phillips joked to the crowd on more than a few occasions.

Still, with Marchant and True Widow frontman Phillips both staying active in their current projects, their playing chops surpassed any expectations one could've had for such an impromptu performance. Visneau, meanwhile, was all smiles as well, smashing his kit with the enthusiasm of a teenager. So, yeah, though there may have been some sloppy moments in the band's loud performance, no one really cared to notice.

Surely, the fact that the attendees were mostly friends and diehard fans singing along to the lyrics ensured as much.

But, more than that, it was just a cool vibe, seeing a band enjoying itself in the fun setting of a tattoo parlor, where everyone was in on the fun and the jokes. Some examples? OK: One person was holding a "Have my babies, Slowride!" poster. And, at one point, someone from the crowd tossed Visneau a fortune cookie to open and eat.

"Well, it's wrong," the drummer said with a laugh before reading his fortune aloud. "'You will be successful in your career.'"

Given the band's demise, the room burst out in laughter.

And over an hour after its start, after bantering and bartering with the crowd about which songs it would play last, the band's set came to an end.

"You all just witnessed the longest Slowride set in history!" Peck announced victoriously to the rest of the room.

Maybe also the most damning, too. With the set over and the lights back on, Peck almost immediately noticed something wrong: The noise from the band's amps rattled the shop's walls so much that frame surrounding its poster of the Virgin Mary was left blasted apart, barely still attached to the wall.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I love True Widow. I love The Riverboat Gamblers. I like what I've heard of Slowride. But, live? The band sounds like somewhere in between those two acts. Which is a very good thing. Too bad they did break up and aren't planning any other shows beyond the upcoming Christmas party.

Random note: The noise in the room also rattled a pretty gnarly looking spider from the shop's ceiling.

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman