What if? That was the question on an achingly awkward night at the Spitz.
What if Fireworks Night’s languid mope-folk could be delivered without the impending possibility that they were about to slit their own wrists and yank their own teeth out? Perhaps less moody, baritone cringe fests that spoke of bugs, bucket shaped eyes and watching someone sit in a chair filling out a crossword. A woman threw herself off a bridge near my office today. I could’ve done the same at this point.
Benjy Ferree is an intriguing addition to the Domino roster. He looks like a distant relative of Napoleon Dynamite. Actually he looks like he could be his uncle. Wriggling about the stage with a maturing handlebar moustache in wirey fashion with workman’s turn-ups and polished brown brogues, he speaks like a washed up hick. He’s a Washingtonian though, as are most of his band, except for his guitarist from Philadelphia who seemed to think he was from Nashville.
His recent single In The Countryside deceptively suggested a twee folk singer-songwriter, but Ferree is nothing of the sort. Instead he clatters through a mish mash of garage jams, geeky foot tappers (with extenuated vowel pronunciation) and melody driven ditties (The Desert). When it worked, it worked well, but more often than not, it simply didn’t.
It left the ‘cross pollination’ (as Ferree christened us) of punters a little derailed. Some were tapping away quite contently. One guy had earplugs and gestured like it was a Tisto gig. Many wore expressions like they were watching the birth of a calf.
You couldn’t help but wonder if this was an act. They were caricatures of a jilted town band that you’d find somewhere in the far reaches of Iowa. Ferree and his crew pushed that envelope a little too heavily.
What if you stripped away their country threads and mock southern accents? Perhaps it would have taken away something less interesting to mention about an otherwise derivative experience.