04 September 2007

P+R: Bustle In Your Hedgerow

Excuse me, but does your shirt say "Time to Fuck?"

So, like, what, best band ever? That's the hyperbole I gotta wrap around these guys, I can't think of any other way to put it. I think if they were playing anything else, it would still smell just as sweet, but the "aw fuck it, let's just play Zeppelin" aspect brings Bustle to the next level. Throw it all on a boat and call it a birthday party for one of those one-and-only's and you've got yourself a Thursday evening.
I guess it's a cover band, or maybe you'd call it a tribute band... but only in the way that Van Gogh was "paying tribute" to the night sky, just total artistic reinterpretation. "Ramble On" and "Song Remains the Same" are the rolling landscapes and Bustle In Your Hedgerow paints 'em on the canvas.

For whatever reason the crowd was incredibly sparse Thursday night; plenty of room to huddle around the band... and at the same time plenty of nooks and crannies on the Temptress cruise ship to remain completely out of sight the entire evening (said more than once upon exiting the vessel "you were on the boat!?" The stage at the end of the ballroom sits under the overhang of a balcony. The effect is like the room is the kitchen and the band is in the oven: dough rising and bubbling over with yeasty goodness and filling the surround space with incredibly inviting aromas. And if you get up nice and close, you can feel the heat directly, convection from a four-piece faux-rock band: drums, bass, guitar, keyboards... as good as you can imagine.

What makes Bustle so damn special -- beyond the ripping tunes -- is the crazy cross-chemistry that already exists. These guys play with each other in all sorts of permuations a lot. Joe Russo and Marco Benevento, of course, form the Duo, but Scott Metzger and Joe have an almost-as-tight ESP thing going in a totally different direction; Scott & Dreiwitz seem to have perfected the guitar/bass yin/yang thing as well as anyone and so on and so forth. So, when the band needed to bring it to the "let's rock this mutha" level, it was a little more than an audiosonic nod and they were there. It's a supergroup, for sure, but it's a band, too... a darn good one.The specific details of Thursday night grow hazy with something called the Tequila Demise and lots and lots of headbanging>whiskey. There was a good half hour at the onset where I sat in awe of Joe Russo. Whenever the last time I saw Joe was, it's been too long and even so, every time anew, it's like I need to reteach my brain how to react to such, shall we say, awesomeness. Yes, Russo is awesome, in that he fills me with utter and total awe. This, mind you, is after gigging earlier in the evening in Buffalo w/ Marco and then high-tailing it back down to town to hitch a boat. It's like the frickin' Erie Canal, the Duo rocking from Albany to Buffalo.The cool thing is that they don't really jam the stuff out ad naseum, there's very little jamming at all. It's twisted and it's instrumental and, yeah, Metzger and/or Benevento will take things out when it's warranted. But mostly, it's just in your face, resting more on Joe and Dave and the nastiness of the music itself. Case-in-point was the otherworldly take on "Ramble On," which was just 4 dudes meshing musically, interlocking like there was no other choice, jigsaw pieces forming the bigger picture.

So, the show stretched out, two sets of Zeppelin like you've never heard it, and then the governor was removed and there was no speed limit whatsoever. Liquor-fueled insanity set in, with the birthday boy and Bustle In Your Hedgerow inspirado Rocks Off Jake taking over the stage. Yes, it was time to fuck, apparently. Whole Lotta Love and some other weirdness ensued with cocks-a-rattling and a whole bunch of party time unsupervised.

And then somehow I made it off the boat and onto a train and into work the next morning...

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