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American Hitmen at Jimmy's Juke Joint

We decided to go out for music one, and only one night this weekend.  In the end we decided to make it Friday night.  As we were walking out to the car I was thinking that the choice would be to see Bumblefist down at O’Leary’s in Eau Claire.  But then as we rolled out of town I just pointed us north.  It is a bit of a drive, but on stage at Jimmy’s was a national act.  American Hitmen on a U.S. tour and a free show at Jimmy’s.  This just seemed too good to pass up.

[This was in my "Unfinished" folder.  Even a lower grasp of the language must be presumed]

In the past I have complained about the long drive up to Jimmy’s but not this night.  A couple of nights before  my father in law had called and since I hadn’t been home I hadn’t heard the details.  He had been doing some research on “The Youtubes”.  He was calling to say he had come to the conclusion that he agreed with some of the videos he had found.  NASA has been lying to us all along and the earth is in fact flat.  He spent about two hours on the phone with The Wife with the details backing up this theory.  …The woman is truly a saint.  But this is also the type of call that just begs to have the details analyzed later and so there was plenty of conversation on the drive up to Jimmy’s  We were literally there before I knew it.  The same conversation got us home in record time.

For the most part I really liked the music by American Hitmen.  But there were a few songs I really didn’t like.  Kind of a strange deal really.   Usually I either like a band or I don’t but in this case it was much more granular.  I would say about twenty percent of their songs had a great deal of discord in the music.  Discord is an intentional technique that sounds kind of at odds with the melody.  It’s intent is to make you feel ill-at-ease, uncomfortable and tense.  I get that.  There is a reason for it and I get that reason.  It’s just that I don’t really like feeling ill-at-ease uncomfortable *or* tense.   So those songs I just didn’t like.

Others, either band originals or stylized covers, I liked very much.  It all had that sort of Southern rock style, yet much harder edged than Lynyrd Skynyrd knock off bands.

I would say it was a small crowd at Jimmy’s but the place is somewhat deceptive.  It can hold a fair number of people and still look like nobody is there.

I really wish that my friend The County Official was still living in Chippewa.  He would have loved the whole premise of the band before they played a single note.  (Pretty sure he would have liked the notes as well.)  He was a marine, married to a marine.   Those are some folks who stick together. The band, American Hitmen are based around two brothers, both marines who came back from Iraq and left the military to make their living playing music.  They are good at it.  

The lead singer, Tim Cord has a great voice.  His brother on lead guitar, had a pretty good voice as well.   So between the two of them they had vocals very well covered.  But Tim had one other thing.  He also was really good at having some stage personality.  He had precision and polish to his moves.  Maybe it was all those hours of drill.  He was giving us a show.  He had the whole at-ease confidence to be doing all sorts of crazy stuff on stage and we were all totally eating it up.  His theater was perfect.  Imagine, him in a classic yoga warrior’s pose, turned ninety degrees to the audience.  An arm thrust forward, his head back.  You could see the wind through his hair the effect was so complete.  Loved it.

In terms of guitar playing Dan Cord wasn’t like epic or anything.  He was solid.  The riffs were not overly complex.  The solos tended to be fairly simple.  The same could be said of Angus Young of AC/DC or an even more extreme example, Tom Petty.   Where he really excelled was in excellent timing and chord strength.  He played very well.

The bass player, Dave Briggs, was good too.  He was very theatrical and had presence and personality (?!) and added to the whole over-all show.  He did a couple little solo things.  He kept them both short.  I was happy.  He was jumping around on stage, putting out a very high energy show.  It was fun to watch him.   He was a fan, as it turns out to Motor City Rock-wear in Detroit a place that deserves a google lookup.  

Warming up for American Hitmen was the band Contingency who were also celebrating the birthday of Frank Leffelman their lead guitar.  We missed them unfortunately.  We were late.  Too bad, I do enjoy the vocals of D. J. Harm. 

It’s really great that Jimmy’s Juke Joint exists.  They are bringing in national acts and the sound, lighting and stage were all perfect.  I spent a little time clandestinely looking over Jimmy’s shoulder as he wandered around the center of the floor with an iPad in his hand.  He was able to control the sound and the lights all from the pad.  How cool is that?  And you know what?  The sound was perfect.  It’s called “what geeks do when they retire”.  I loved it.

It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top. 

Hunter S. Thompson