Whiskey Shivers, Guns of Navarone, and Crooks
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Jan. 13, 2012
Whiskey ShiversMohawk, Jan. 3
Flat-footin' hipsters may well inhabit hell, but Whiskey Shivers would doubtlessly delight in being the devil's house band. Blame the local quintet's frontman and fiddle wiz Bobby Fitzgerald, who hollers possessed hillbilly catharsis behind a dementedly crooked grin. Then there's the dark, lanky figure of Evan Heidtmann on banjo, leering silently from the side; raucous washboard percussion from Joe Deuce; hard-thrummed upright bass by Andrew VanVoorhees; and Horti Hortillosa bounding behind his acoustic guitar. Taken all together, it makes for the best string-band breakdown this side of Old Crow Medicine Show, exploding with manic backwoods charm skipping between cussed-up banter. Whiskey Shivers opened the bill and stole the show, working through bluegrass classics, including "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms" and "Gimme All Your Lovin'," the Shivers' original standout from 2011 debut LP Batholith, not to mention a deliciously bent take on the Rolling Stones with Old Crow Medicine Show's version of "Down Home Girl." The quartet Guns of Navarone, plying a smoother brand of Americana from its debut, Prize and Battlefield, couldn't follow with the same energy but found its roots-rock balance between the Shivers' shenanigans and the always steady honky-tonk stomps of Crooks that closed the outdoor bill.