Muschamp Rd

Grady + Nashville Pussy

October 11th, 2008
Grady

So last night I went on down to the Plaza Nightclub alone to see a show. I didn’t even try to find someone to go see Nashville Pussy with. I wasn’t really going to see Nashville Pussy, I was going to see Gordie Johnson’s latest band Grady.

I got there a bit early so got to stand in line, two people behind a guy who kept shouting “Pussy” at random intervals to passerbys. At least it gives me a legitimate reason to use the word pussy in a blog posting. Standing there I couldn’t help think the average Nashville Pussy fan wasn’t the smartest individual in the world.

Vancouver's own Grass City

This was actually a three band bill, the openers were local boys, Grass City. They did not come to fuck around. There were so many amps on stage as Grass City had three guitarists plus a bass guitar. When the drummer got on the stage I thought we were in for the second coming Levon Helm. Alas a bearded drummer is about where the similarities with The Band end.

They had their own videographer with three cameras so maybe some footage of their portions of the show will show up online soon.

Grass City's Drummer

So after Grass City tears down and they fix the cow skull above the double kick drum, Grady takes the stage. Gordie Johnson and his bassist were both wearing black cowboy hats which they took off to show they had no bald spots to hide.

It took a couple songs for the band to “hit that groovy spot” to quote John Lee Hooker, but their speeded up version of Honky Tonkin’ was interesting as was their medley into “Whiskey River” a song Willie Nelson made famous. Gordie said it was good to see so many good friends and good musicians in the crowd. I was in the balcony and didn’t notice anyone, last time I saw Gordie play Chad Kroeger was very much in the audience, but he probably couldn’t find a ride downtown.

Grady Drum Kit

Gordie introduced the band including the drummer they searched all over Texas for, who turned out to be from BC. When the band finally broke into a Big Sugar song I thought their set was done, but they actually did two more songs. When they were finished it was probably after midnight and people were heading for the door. I thought about booking after the Big Sugar tune and I would have been satisfied. But I decided to stick around and give the headliners a listen.

Geordie

I came for Grady so I got my Pussy for free.

They can have that tag, maybe they’ll replace “From Hell to Texas” with it “Cum for Grady, Stay for Pussy“.

This was the first show in a long time where the roadies and the sound guys really earned their money. Tearing down Grady’s kit and setting up another drum set and as well as making lots of adjustments to the soundboard was a lot of work and Nashville Pussy took the stage really late. As a result more people saw Grady than the headliners.

Their lead singer announced this was their second home, which didn’t make sense at first, but made sense later in the set. I know Nashville Pussy had to replace their original bassist. Their new one doesn’t play much but I guess they had to preserve their dude flanked by two chicks aesthetic and the female backing vocals and choruses are really integral to their sound. Anyway it is the other female musician in the band who is the star, especially last night.

I’d heard her play before on CD in fact one of the few Nashville Pussy songs I have in my collection was the foundation of my latest “Genius” mix. As an uncrowned king of the mix tape, I’m surprised I use Genius as often as I do, but it picks songs I wouldn’t listen to, sometimes its choices don’t make a lot of sense. Right now the Last Waltz version of “Helpless” is being played. Levon Helm is indeed in the house, as is Joni Mitchell.

For a band with a definite image, getting old and fat probably isn’t good for their careers, but Nashville Pussy isn’t in it for the money. I can totally see why they toured with Turbonegro they both have a similar irreverence though I think Turbo has the smarter fans. There were obvious AC/DC influences especially in the Angus Young like lead guitar, right down to the SG.

The SG was modified to have just one pickup and one knob which was kinda cool. When she wasn’t flailing around on the floor or lying on her back, she actually had some really strict fingering especially on the odd chords. Her husband declared her the greatest female lead guitarist of all time. She sagged a bit at that but she can play. I always thought Heart’s lead guitarist held this title at least in the minds of aging rock critics.

They were certainly amusing. The lead singer dedicated one song to yet another forgotten overlooked songwriter who passed away a few days earlier. Though I’m not sure I see the connection between “I’m so high I look down to see the sky” and “Papa was a rolling stone” but Blaine insists it’s there.

Nashville Pussy plus Gordie Johnson

They had a couple songs that were boogie based and perhaps were the least loud band of the evening which is ironic. Gordie Johnson came on stage to play harp for one song but that didn’t work so well, they should’ve done an Allman Brothers or Lynard Skynard song or something. I guess taking Gordie’s rig off the stage prevented that, he is a lot different guitarist on acoustic. So much of his playing is simple but with great touch plus of course lots of reverb and sustain. He also fiddles with his pick up switch a lot and I can’t help but think a second amp kicks in sometimes.

I had good sightlines for almost the whole show and took a few pictures on my Blackberry, but although I’ve gotten the terminology down pretty well I’m still not the most sophisticated guitarist.


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