Aging, balding curmudgeons who (barely) remember Deep Ellum's musical melting pot in the olden days--when you bought a beer from an upright fridge in the Theater Gallery and later relieved yourself of its filling fluid in the alley behind it--often barely recognize the sparkling nightspot it is today. The closest you can get to its gritty past is found over in Expo Park at Bar of Soap, where the place hasn't changed too much since its inception, save the new layers of graffiti in the bathroom. And in recent years a quasi-annual event crops up that encourages the old folks to wallow in a weekend of loose lips and occasionally even looser libidos. It's called Trashfest, and it's as good a way as any to relive the good, old bad days of wanton ways with some newer entries into the tried-but-true genre of beer rock.
Unlike previous Trash outings, fest wrangler Joey Salerno isn't just dipping into the considerable pool of local yokels who know how to raise a ruckus in Soap's clammy, sudsy bar and back, uh, "patio." Sure, it includes homegrown talent like The Fed Ups, Faceless Werewolves and the debut performance of The Signals, featuring Salerno behind the kit and The Falcon Project's Sean Kirkpatrick and former ex-Fireworks and Necessary Evils axman James Arthur. But there's also a pretty solid aggregate of touring rock acts hitting the stage as well.
The Tight Bros. From Way Back When lead off the weekend with their snarky Supersuckers-meets-early AC/DC fist-pumping jubilee. It's all too familiar to cynical ears--the powerhouse guitar chords, the bass-drum pummeling, the hand-raising choruses--but the Bros. have a way of winning you over with their unbridled energy. But they better look out for Cherry Valance, the North Carolina outfit on the mighty Estrus label that serves up a heaping helping of southern-fried tumult. On record it can sound a little too close to Too Fast For Love-era Mötley Crüe, but live this five-piece ups the ante considerably. Modern math metal mavens C Average also unfurl their Sabbath-thick guitar sheets and angular tempo changes. Fans of the long gone Richmond trio Breadwinner shouldn't miss the opportunity to see some Northwest boys bring the noise.
Saturday night features Chris Spencer's latest guitar blitzkrieg, Cutthroats 9. Spencer's early-'90s assault, Unsane, was powered by a rip-roaring rhythm section and bloody guitar abuse. He hasn't altered that approach too much in the Throats, though it's tempered with a bit more attention to song craft than sonic affront, giving you some hooks to grab onto rather than just trying to hold on for dear life during the blast.
Closing the whole shebang is NYC's The Toilet Boys, a vivacious and vampy slice of mid-'80s hair metal and early-'70s New York Dolls-cum-Jayne County flamboyance. Just watch out if you're a Dallas dude looking to get lucky during the weekend's enthusiastic excess, especially if you harbor a serious new wave fixation. The Boys' singer, Miss Guy, plays a pretty good transsexual, and we wouldn't want any of you closet homophobes to start getting the wrong idea about the tight-pants-clad extrovert. S/he could pass for Missing Persons' Terri Bozzio after a few beers. Like two.