2.13.2010

Lake and Ocean w/J Marinelli @ The Sound Factory 2.12

Lake and Ocean released their debut EP Pull Friday night at The Sound Factory

There are a few important lessons to take away from the Lake and Ocean release show for their debut EP Pull at The Sound Factory Friday night:

1. Lake and Ocean may be the second coming of the Pixies,

2. J Marinelli is indeed the man, and

3. Being sober around a bunch of drunken revelers is no fun.

So yeah, I simply had to get to Charleston Friday night to catch not only Marinelli, but Lake and Ocean, a band which regular readers of the site will not be surprised to hear I think rocks.

After arriving fashionably late, right after Elephant Child’s set and, I soon found out, right in time for Marinelli’s -- awesome! I pulled up a seat at the opposite end of the wall-mounted TV, which was showing the WVU-Pitt game.

Not surprisingly, considering the Magic Town bands scheduled to play, there was a heavy contingent of WVU fans, chanting “Eat Shit Pitt,” which, I already knew the Panthers consumed; found it out in grade school after reading about Penn State sucking and Pitt swallowing on a t-shirt. What they were supposed to be swallowing, who knew???

Sitting there alone in a chair near the stage, a disturbing trend began to emerge. Some guy sitting at the nearest table with some female friends, after announcing that “the one-man band” was next, got up, walked in front of me, and pulled on the fastened strap of my Eskimo/Russian toboggan I was wearing, quite drunkenly.

“It’s a strap,” I explained. “You look warm,” he responded. At this point I had an unstructured conversation on my hands. After asking me about my business at the show, who I was there to see, I mentioned being excited about seeing Lake and Ocean and this one-man band he was talking about, and pointed at Marinelli, who was setting up his rig onstage.

He then asked, “Are you the one-man band?” To which I replied: “If I was, I’d be setting my stuff up.” “That’s true,” he said. He kindly offered me a cigarette and I said I didn’t smoke cigarettes, but at this point considered taking him up on the offer just so he’d have one less -- but I couldn’t take the chance of leaving now: I was there to document the event, with poorly taken pictures and video for posterity’s sake.

By the time Marinelli (casually dressed aside from his own Eskimo-type headwear) had finished his quick sound check, the Mountaineers had lost in three overtimes and a crowd mingled toward the front of the stage as the angry-one man band from Lexington (via Morgantown) introduced himself and started rocking.

Marinelli rolled through songs his fans have come to know and love; “Last Year‘s Party,” “Weak Enuff, (My Mythology)” “Keep It Fake,” “No Kind of Fun,” “Rebel Without Applause,” “Hey Pinkerton,” “A Little Action,” and “Cleveland, Honey.”

“Rebel Without Applause/Hey Pinkerton/Hand Grenade Heart”


After taking a “rehydrate or die” drink in between songs, Marinelli bemoaned the poor quality of history taught to youngsters growing up in West Virginia, not really learning much about Matewan, before introducing “8th Grade.”

It may have been around this point that Marinelli’s toboggan flew off whilst he was rocking. After finishing the song, he explained that, driving in, he’d heard on NPR about how Willie Mays’ hat was designed to fly off while making big plays; such was the same with his Eskimo toboggan, he said.

“NPR?” Someone in the crowd shot back.

Marinelli closed his short set with his raucous cover of “She Said” by Hasil Adkins -- not The Cramps -- creating some nice feedback as he noise-jammed his way out of the end of the tune. That’d be something neat to see Marinelli incorporate somehow into his Appalachian punk rock sound.

Hearing him play a few songs after you’ve had most all of his CDs, you may not get a sense of his angry one-man band’s range. From time to time he’ll rework and kind of rearrange some of his songs with different accents; what was hard and fast may be softer and slower. If you picked up his mainly overdriven Pity the Party EP, then played the more subdued parts of his Stone-age Kicks cover CD, you may not think it’s the same guy. If you’ve got Keep It Fake you know how great it is, and if you get Pre-emptive Skankery before we do, please hook us up.

Irregardless nonetheless, with his caveman guitar, and his version of maximum stomp and swing, there’s no danger of getting burned out on the Marinelli songs you’ve by this point memorized. Seemed like he had more than a few longtime fans down in front, and I’m glad I got to catch him again.

After Marinelli was through, I grabbed a stool at the back of the bar, right next to two unguarded FedEx boxes worth of Lake and Ocean CDs. More craziness. Two dudes come up and sell a copy for $5, and I’m all like “I’ll have what he’s having,” and procure a copy of Pull. That’s not the crazy part.

A few minutes subsequently, a person whom I will just say introduced themselves as being romantically involved with a member of Lake and Ocean came up, said hi, and asked where I’d got the copy of their CD. I pointed out the guy and that was that, but, being totally sober, and naturally schizophrenic, the question arose in my mind, “Why would someone dating a member of the band need to buy a copy of their CD?” I kind of got the feeling this person thought I got a “house copy” if you will; that I’d stolen it!

By now, if someone had asked me who I was (trying to) take pictures and film for, I had prepared in my mind an elaborate plot where I would be the local correspondent for The Examiner. I had all the crowd clearing questions ready:

Q: This one-man band, is he more rap, or R&B?

Q: The CD, Pull, is it about Lake and Ocean’s authoritarian stranglehold on the record industry, or as they likely call it, “the game?”

Q: Are they pro or anti-Illuminati? Because, for crying out loud, after filling their auxiliary Lear jet hanger plum to the top with dollars, all that’s really left for them to do is to subtly hitch their message onto a half a millennia old uber-secret society seeking global domination? And a locally flavored follow-up: Where do you get your highly choreographed, dancing police state on ‘round these here parts?

Because those are the hard hitting questions I’d assume you’d get from The Examiner. Or at least they’d get people away from me, fast. If anyone found me out, and asked about my ruse, I would tell them that Marinelli told me to keep it fake.

Then, the Lake and Ocean merch dude(s) return with another unidentified accomplice, who begins picking and moving at the drawstrings of my hooded sweatshirt, as if moving them around will better allow this person to read the huge letters spelling out RUSSELL emblazoned across it.

The whole thing reeked of an orchestrated plot against your humble narrator, yet, none dare call it conspiracy. Except for me, that’s exactly what I‘ll call it!

It was right around this time that L&O was ready to play, and I’d asked the beardless merch dude who’d actually took my money for the copy of the CD, if he’d seen the Marinelli merch table that he’d briefly mentioned during his set. Much to my dismay, he had no clue. I guess it’s for the better; I’d blow as much money as I could on Marinelli merch, raking it into my backpack like I’d won big at craps. Never know when you’ll need a backup copy of Keep It Fake, but I had to leave with my hat and sweatshirt still on.

So Lake and Ocean takes the stage, dozens of people suddenly appear out of nowhere to swarm the front, singer/guitarist Bryan Newruck announces his mic “Smells like balls,” and they run through tight, nice sounding versions of the songs on the EP.

That’s one thing instantly noted about the band, aside from the sound; they seem to travel well, bringing a good bit of people in.

Speaking of the CD, a bigger looking dude not seemingly affiliated with the merch table around this time, leaving the rear platform where I was sitting, jabbed/patted me in my ribs and said “CDs -- five bucks!” By the time I tried to explain that I’d already picked one up (after paying for it) he was on his way; not seeming to care if I wanted one.

During their set, I had bestowed upon my tobogganed head a crown/tiara by someone affiliated with the band, to celebrate the Chinese New Year (?) and the new CD. I didn’t turn around to see who put it on, and I didn’t turn around when he took it off and put it back in the big party favor box to my left a few minutes later. I was crestfallen.

If you’re gonna pull on my clothes, imply I’m a thief and jab me in the ribs to get me to buy the CD I already have, at least let me walk to the Transit Mall at 2:30 in the morning with a tiara on my head to call a cab! The Examiner’s local music queen of the scene, I’ll be -- right before I’m robbed, beaten and left for dead.

Not having heard L&O live before, I was impressed with the power of their sound, the onstage chemistry between Newruck and lead guitarist Nick Bradley, and Jill Hess’ vocals. Not being far off comparing their sound to that of The Pixies, fittingly enough the band closed out their set with a ferocious version of “Tame.”

All in all a great show with a great crowd.

2 comments:

Jill said...

Let me extend a huge apology to you, kind writer. It saddens me to know that you were poked, prodded, accused of thievery, and finally de-tiara(ed) at our show in Charleston. We did not have a merch person that night, and the fellas promoting our CD were self-appointed into that position. Please come see us in Morgantown, as it is our home. No one will pull your strings or straps.

Yrs,
Jill H.

Anonymous said...

You really should have arrived on time for a full boner. Elephant Child was the bees knees.

--Eddie Speed