Walking along Grand Ave in Williamsburg, I spotted a street lamp absolutely covered with advertisements. There, among a what looked like thousands of posts for everything from 4 Men and a Truck to Spanish speaking attorneys, was a paper-bag-brown flyer with a bare bottomed vixen dressed in nothing but boots sitting over the words The Whiskey Go Go’s.
It was an ad for a show at an unknown location with Canadian band Inward Eye on February 18th. I suppose the only reason that I noticed the flyer at all was that I happened to see the Whiskey Go Go’s last week at The Trash Bar. They topped a list of bands that began with the beautiful and extraordinarily talented Cabiria, as well as the remarkably out of place Astronaut Down. The Whiskey Go Go’s are from Melbourne, Australia where they were signed to a major record label before they were dropped to fend for themselves in the most tumultuous of industry climates. This brought them to tour New York City where they are generating interest in their yet to be released record Whiskey Rain. They have fought a number of hardships in their endeavor. The importation of Americana to America from an Australian band is at once suspect; I cannot approve of the term southern-rock to describe this band. Certainly some unknowing person might believe them to be natives of Louisiana, but that only speaks to the worldly prism through which their take on American music is made. For Australian listeners, the love of Bob Dylan and Neil Young, himself a Canadian, cannot be supplanted by the intonations of a couple of upstarts struggling to combat poverty, free agency, and a sound that some have alleged is not their own.
I have resisted the temptation to call out other reviews that parallel Matt Hutchinson’s voice with another band, one that has so utterly disintegrated and removed themselves from the realm of good taste that they are not worth mentioning. To make my own comparison, I would have to say that the Whiskey Go Go’s love David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. While to some, this comparison may be as every bit as insulting as the one I just denounced, let’s be clear, there is no plagiarism at work here folks. Simply said, “Give these guys a fucking record deal!”
While I’ll have plenty of time to review both their debut, Proud Tales to Them of Us, and Whiskey Rain, it would be best at this point to tell all of New York to go see their show. Tonight the Whiskey Go Go’s play again at The Trash Bar and tomorrow, Wednesday March 4th, at Union Pool, also in Williamsburg. The band, particularly Mr. Hutchinson, have an extraordinarily unpolished performance style. His eyes are wide and terrifying, exerting every ounce of his presence toward the audience. The show is full of charming imperfections that belie the uniqueness of this act. I have much more to write in the coming days, meanwhile may I suggest attending their show either today or tomorrow…
March 3rd- The Trash Bar, Brooklyn
March 4th- Union Pool, Brooklyn
March 15th- The Echo, LA
March 26th- The Bell House- Brooklyn