I got the chance to see one of my favorite (if not my favorite) band last night at Rudyard’s here in Houston.
It isn’t every day that you write a band or musician and get a reply from them – it is usually a form letter or some ad to join their “fan club”. But when I wrote Andrew Jackson Jihad’s Sean Bonnette and asked him to come to Houston during the week (since I work weekends), I was pleasantly surprised that they booked Houston on a Wednesday.
At my age, my desire of going to a local establishment to see a band isn’t what it once was – especially with YouTube. But it isn’t every day that one can go and see a band I hold in high regard, so I made the journey into the Montrose area to see them, and it was a trip I am glad I took. First of all, Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty are incredible guys – they both took the time to sit and talk with me.
A Houston band, Rebel Beach, opened up and weren’t too bad; and was followed by Treasure Fleet which provided an even better set. The punk band Joyce Manor was up next and their fast, punchy, short songs got the crowd warmed up for AJJ (a couple of the band members joined AJJ later on during their set for a couple of songs).
Sean and Ben started their set acoustically, which was a good fit for some of their songs such as “You Don’t Deserve Yourself”, but were joined later on by a drummer and a very talented banjo and keyboard player to provide a more “punk” feel to some of their songs such as “Hate, Rain on Me” and “Distance”. Sean and Ben played with a fierce intensity at times that seemed surprising considering they seemed so mellow off stage. The banter between Sean, Ben, and the crowd was hilarious at times, talking about competition between cities (such as Phoenix and Tucson) and when Sean kept forgetting the words to “Sense, Sensibility” (he finally got through the song). I was very happy that they played every song I wanted to hear, and I few more that I wasn’t as familiar with which gives me a reason to dig into their cd’s more and hopefully discover a few more songs.
Overall, a great night, a great concert by 4 incredible bands, and a chance to meet two great guys I hold in high regard. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
Follow this link to their website and tour schedule
On April 20, Andrew Jackson Jihad streamed their concert from the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, New York on livestream.com.
The crowd was quite a bit bigger and more lively than at the Houston show, with some actual crowd surfing and stage diving (which Sean politely asked the crowd to stop due to so many people in the audience wearing glasses). The band’s set seemed a little more “polished” and tighter (maybe it is from being on the road for awhile), and the set was pretty much the same, including the beginning acoustic set that gave way to a electrical portion, except for the new song called “InnerCity Basshead History Teacher” which consisted of Sean’s trademark quarky lyrics set to a California punk type to tempo and length (really short), and a cover of a song by Jay Reatard (member of the Lost Souls and member of the Reatards who died in 2010). Barry Johnson from Joyce Manor also joined them for a song called ” Hate and Kill”.
Overall, the camera angle was great – straight at the stage right above everyone’s head, with the only downside was an annoying humming that was more apparent during the quiet parts of the set. And it is a shame that the tour will be ending in 10 days (May 1 in Oklahoma City) just when it seems that Sean and Ben are just starting to hit their groove on the road.