Live Picks: 09.22.2011 – 09.28.2011

09.22: Vapo-Rats + The Riffs + The Unnaturals – 12 Bar

09.23: Big History + King Rey + Baby Bee – Eiffel Society

When local rock band King Rey took the stage at One Eyed Jacks to close out last year’s New Orleans Indie Rock Festival, they were sandwiched on the bill between Big History and Empress Hotel – acts that were, for all intents and purposes, much more sought-after in the New Orleans indie rock world. But as King Rey’s surprisingly realized hodgepodge of seemingly disparate genres proceeded to subtly steal the show that night, they proved to be one of the great wild cards of the city’s musical landscape. Their humbly forthright presentation is belied by a meticulous meld of psychedelic steeped classic rock and a soulful brand of electric doo-wop that harkens back to the early hit-makers at Stax records.

After a first half of 2011 that found King Rey relatively quiet on the live front, they popped up again in July with the Street Friends EP. An impressively produced debut for the band, it manages to perfectly convey the anomalous genre and decade leanings that they so effortlessly jump between in a live setting. However, even though Kyle Richie, Christopher Evans, Brad Stire, and Trey and Matthew Cloutier pride themselves on their heavily collaborative songwriting process, King Rey somehow brilliantly avoids the usual complications of so much intertwined influence: whether they’re riffing on Veltones-esque vocal harmonies or throwing around some Soft Bulletin-era acid effects, King Rey never come off sounding unfocused, too cutesy or overly serious.

Back with their friends in Big History and joined by fuzzy rock n’ roll two-piece Baby Bee, King Rey is giving concertgoers who may not otherwise have many reasons to step foot inside Eiffel Society a good excuse to check out what is truly a stunning event space.

MP3: King Rey: “My Only One”

09.24: Fat History Month + Chris Rehm + Habitat – Hey! Cafe

09.25: ANR + Ben Jones – Hi-Ho Lounge

09.26: Peter Bjorn & John + Dinosaur Feathers – One Eyed Jacks

09.27: The Capitalist Kids + Marathon + Adults – Siberia

09.28: Explosions in the Sky + Wye Oak – Tipitina’s

Check out our New Orleans Music Calendar for a full slate of constantly updated live picks

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Photoset // Leaving + Whom Do You Work For? + Opossom: 08.19.2011

Leaving + Whom Do You Work For? + Opossom performing at Hey! Cafe on August 19, 2011

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The Lollies: 06.24.2011

When I was younger, playing in a band and going to all ages punk and ska shows every other night, the most common – if not annoying – time-filler was the myriad of high school and college-aged bands that would immaturely show up thoroughly unprepared to play. Decked out in traditional Johnny Rotten garb, they’d sport patches and stickers of bands that conceivably influenced their music – Misfits, NOFX, the Buzzcocks, Black Flag – and other bands that probably didn’t (Ten Foot Pole?). Cool as they looked, these kids rarely even had the physical dexterity to keep a rhythm going for one minute, much less for the duration of an entire song.

This may be the reason I’m so enthralled by local newcomers the Lollies, a band whose appearance is vaguely akin to the type of overly eager punk acts I’ve endured countless times, but whose live prowess stands up next to even the legendary groups those bands wanted so badly to be. At Hey! Café on June 24, the story was no different, as they – along with Brasky (making their live debut) – provided local support for Asian Man Records’ West Chester, PA pop punk act Spraynard.

The Lollies, modestly lacking the green and pink hair dye from their phenomenal Block Party performance, were mostly business tonight in the dim back room of Hey! Cafe, completing a bona fide full-song sound check before tearing into a torrent of lightning fast punk and flawless vocal harmonies. Singers and Guitarists Brian Pretus and Zach Quinn volleyed complex riffs back and forth while trading lead vocal duties in the spirit of some of the best multi-guitar punk bands. Meanwhile, the drumming of newbie Joey Mercer proved not to be the live weakness (as is usually the concern when replacing band members) but the most impressive facet of the band, as he not only kept up with the Lollies’ breakneck shifts from pop punk to old school punk to occasional flirtations with metal, but managed to largely set the pace for the sweaty, sardine-packed mosh pit of concert regulars.

Years ago, the idea of getting a mind blowing concert experience at a coffee house was a rarity; and to see such a high-quality local punk show was all but a pipe dream. Tonight’s event, however, was possibly a microcosm of the strong New Orleans punk movement trudging along with incredibly talented people behind it: to have a local record label like Community Records, home to an act like the Lollies, put on a show for a touring band from Asian Man Records is night and day compared to some of the garbage I sifted through as a kid.

photo courtesy of Julia Pretus