February 19, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Reigning Sound at Magic Room Gallery | 2.17.11

Reigning Sound
[Greg Cartwright of Reigning Sound at the Magic Room Gallery 2/17/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini. More photos here.]

Oh, man do we ever need Asheville-based garage rock revivalists triumphalists Reigning Sound to hit town more frequently, if only to remind us of how much you can do with three chords (occasionally four - on the complicated songs).

Frontman Greg Cartwright (late of Memphis icons the Oblivians) delivers his classic 50's and 60's rock and roll/soul/R&B songcraft without an ounce of bullshit: a Gretsch, plugged straight in, some great melodies, and one of those great, lived-in rock voices. The songs are models of economy - three minute gems that make their point and move on. Nothing overstays its welcome, proving the maxims about how much punk has in common with early rock and roll.

Thursday night at the cozy Brighton outpost Magic Room Gallery, we simply got one great song after another, delivered with punk rock efficiency. No messing around. Cartwright gives a mild-mannered first impression, but, once things start heating up on stage, he is a man possessed by his songs. His head shaking, enunciation breaking, chords slashing.

They drew mostly on their last couple of albums with nuggets here and there that sound so classic that you scratch your head wondering if they're playing a new one, a track you missed, or a cover of some lost 60's 7-incher that they found crate-digging at their local record shop. Either way, they're sharing a form of heaven.

[Two days later, they played a fundraiser for WFMU at Hoboken's Maxwell's, all of which was broadcast on the great Saturday staple, The Cherry Blossom Clinic with DJ Terre T. You can hear the archive here.]

We only got to the show in time to hear Casey Desmond's The Woods Colt play their closing cover of Talking Heads' "Road To Nowhere" from the lobby, but we really dug duo The Human Tail's twisted, effected-guitar blues grind. Their Soundcloud page = bookmarked.

-Michael Piantigini

Reigning Sound: MySpace | Facebook | Wiki | at In The Red Records

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