Cheap Time and Jay Reatard
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Words and photos by Jennifer Maerz
Better than: The other punk band you saw last night
Watching Nashville, Tennessee's Cheap Time last night, it was hard not to imagine all the other times you'd heard their formula before. Three chord punk with a splash of glam and a twist of pop, dressed in tight jeans and creepers.
Everything about their live show was haunted by ghosts of so many other bands, both old and current, doing pretty much the same thing. And yet I really dig these guys. They possess a weird, wired juvenile delinquent vibe to their songs that's impossible to kick once it snakes into your system.
Their self-titled record on In the Red is a buncha fuzzed out, what-you-see-what-you-get punk pop and roll, and live they kick out the jams with a little less snotty attitude, and a lot more adrenaline. I think they'd be perfect in a place like the Eagle, the Hemlock, or Annie's, where their admirers better could cram around the jittery bassist and crash into the drummer as he toppled his own kit with his sticks. As it was, the trio got some of the crowd to do the pogo.
It was headliner Jay Reatard who really got the kids to collide, though. Making his set brisk as usual, Jay lead his trio through Blood Visions in the time it takes most bands to tune their guitars. So last night was another breathless, almost break-less set, triple timing the songs like there's records to be broken with momentum this quick. Personally I prefer a set with a little more variety to the pacing. Putting everything on warp speed saps the songs of their build and release -- it's one giant climax, which is good for stoking the pit but bad for variety.
But hey, it's still early in the week, and as Jay finished his show in -- what was that, 25 minutes? -- another quick hit, one fan checked the time and said," Well that's what I like anyway, I have to work tomorrow." One thing you can say about Jay Reatard shows -- they'll never waste your time.