100 Shows of 2010 - #78: The Henry Clay People/The Dig @ Black Cat, 10/14/10

So looking back, at this point in the year this week (10/11-10/14) of shows currently stands as the best of the best. Four straight nights, four killer shows. And I do mean killer. The last of these shows featured two bands straight outta Cali that I'd been wanting to see for quite a while, especially that group of rapscallions of The Henry Clay People. I've said it (many, many times) before, and apologies if you're sick of hearing it but I'll keep saying it til I'm dang near blue in the face: Bands from California just do it better, sometimes. And one of those times, wait for it, was this particular evening. It was pretty, it was rockin', and it was the finest of fine ways to wrap up the week of concert-going.

MINI RECAP: The Dig = Royal Flush! The Henry Clay People = Full House! Overall Score: B++++

Band numero uno was The Dig. Despite the fact that their Myspace page proclaims their Brooklyn residency, the band introduced themself with a hearty "Hello, we're from California." Go figure. Is it that non-California bands want to be considered California bands? Whatever the case may be, I dug The Dig. This little foursome took you from being bathed in a really, really pretty wash of dreamlike reverie to being rocked like an earthquake. Y'all know how I like that juxtaposition of slow-motion magic and suggestive rock groovin', so me and The Dig, well, we got along just fine. I found a particular kinship in the lyric, "Only lookin' for a good time," because, well, I just did. As much as I enjoyed thier sweet moments of lulling bliss, I tended to appreciate their turning things up a few notches even more (think that sunshiney gloss of Southern California that's been dragged through a few all-night benders, perhaps). There was an ease to their set, an air of being uncomplicated but really quite good at what they're doing. At one point, I likened them to The Kinks, dragged through the Motor City and left wandering, dazed and confused, in the middle of Hollywood. Which means pretty dang fine.

The Henry Clay People is definitely a California band, both residentially and musically speaking. They claim they want "everybody to be a Henry Clay Person," and while I'm not sure what the rest of the general populace of the planet thinks, I'm definitely ready to call myself an honorary Henry Clay Person. I'd wanted to see them for what kinda almost felt like forever, and I must say, the wait was worth it. They laid it all out for us, friends, from those lively, bold vocals to the gnarly strumming of the guitar to the bulky heft of the rhythm section and of course, the ever-so slight possible nerdiness. It was all there, in the set, and it was all awesome. As was their cheeky sense of humor. When "everything broke" at the start of the second song, it was suggested that Jordan (i.e. pianist/vocalist) sing us some showtunes. It was an affable, fun moment, and Jordan took the cue and took on Bowie's "Space Odyssey," which, I tell you what y'all, was a damn fine improvisational cover. Well played indeed. Resuming their normal transmissions, The Henry Clay People hopped along a wide variety of touchstones from Weezer to the playful cheek of The Faces and a half dozen other stops in between. The radness was just non-stop from this band. Daggum, y'all, they were delightful.

It was one hell of a week, and these two bands capped it off something fierce. Do yourself a favor and dig The Dig, and let yourself become a Henry Clay Person. And GO SEE THEM BOTH LIVE. IMMEDIATELY. GO.

mp3: Switch Kids (The Henry Clay People from Somewhere On The Golden Coast)


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