Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 14, 2003
Powersolo/MopedsFriends, Thursday, March 13
What do you think of when you hear the name "Powersolo"? 'Round Denmark way, the moniker apparently conjures the trash-rock psychobilly legacy of Hasil Adkins, the Cramps, and Southern Culture on the Skids. Powersolo may be a power trio, but in this case, the prog-metal acrobatics of Rush are replaced with something they call "donkey punk." Two tremolo-loving chicken-scratch guitarists and a drummer plying his trade on just a snare, bass drum, and floor tom. Rail-thin guitarists Kim Kix and the Atomic Child herky-jerked about the stage to the delight of the half-full but appreciative room. Between ecstatic yelps and foley-caliber equine sound effects, Kix sung in a low growl that resembled Clarence "Frogman" Henry possessed. Unless you'd seen him singing, you'd never believe that sound could come out of this man. Kix also delivered several rim shot-worthy between-song quips. ("This next song goes out to Grandma. It's called 'Stupid Little Bitch.'") It would've been well enough had Powersolo hailed from the Land of NASCAR, but the fact that this exercise in B-movie punk-a-billy was coming from Aarhus, Denmark, added plenty of delicious cognitive dissonance. The trio's lascivious hoedown, "Full Grown Woman," left the crowd primed for more. The Mopeds came all the way from Mall, Sweden, to play a 21st-century amalgam of pure pop for now people. The quartet's opener came equipped with a glorious twin lead guitar solo that evoked images of powder blue tuxes on prom night 1973. Conversely, their "theme" song, "Me and My Moped," was slow and moody. It seemed like every song borrowed from a different subgenre of power-pop history; a bop-happy workout was followed by a fuzzed-out confection. I don't think I've ever said this about a rock band before, but I wish the drums had been louder to drive things home. While the Mopeds were unquestionably well-honed, their repertoire could've been less studied and more inventive. That said, there are worse things to have than an encyclopedic recall of pop.