Album Attack, Fugazi's 13 Songs
Oct. 15, 2011
As has become the custom in Long Beach, a
hodgepodge-supergroup of local musicians took the stage at the Prospector on
Saturday to play through an influential indie album in its entirety. In the
spotlight this month–Fugazi's 13 Songs.
The monthly shows–know as Album Attack–are performed by a
one-time-only band, curated exclusively for each show by the concept's creator,
current cover-and-karaoke-band guru Jesse Wilder. Long Beach's Fugazi included singer
Warren Woodward, guitarist/singer Josh Teague, bassist Travis Laws and
drummer Thad Paulson, four seasoned area musicians who were chosen for their
ability to execute the frenetic energy found in the post-hardcore band's first
But before they ripped into the seminal 1989 album, opening
act Sassafrass primed the crowd by channeling chugging riffs and scratchy wails as though they were early Black Sabbath or Mötorhead. Though they were down a member–the Mike
Watt-recommended bassist was apparently at a high-school reunion–the two
guitarists switched off bass duties, dropping keys midsong as if it were their
About halfway through the set, my cohort explained that
there are two types of bands that play guitar-driven cock rock: guys with too
much testosterone and stoners. Judging by Sassafrass' sped-up funk lines and prog-guitar
tendencies, we both agreed they were definitely the latter.
Our homegrown self-described Fauxgazi came out next, confidently tearing into
13 Songs despite the nervousness they must have felt playing such a defining
album for their generation. Debates had raged earlier in the night over other
Fugazi albums that should have been covered instead, but the band's spot-on
rendition of opener “Waiting Room” was a reminder of why 13 Songs won out.
It might not be a solid compilation of Fugazi's finest work,
but 13 Songs is an early testament to their raw sound of latent punk energy as it
crashed into melodic emotionalism on its way out of '80s hardcore. It shows the
unrefined-yet-controlled style that initially drew listeners to Fugazi and, as
an early recording, is fitting source material for an Album Attack band that barely
has a month to find their own dynamic.
All veterans of the local music scene, the members of LB's
Fugazi replicated the 13 songs with ease.
Paulson nailed all of Brendan Canty's aggressive rhythms, Teague's
masterful shredding turned his black cowboy shirt into a sweaty swimsuit, mop-topped
Woodward sang some of Guy Picciotto's lyrics while staggering into the crowd,
and Laws' intensive bass-playing ensured if any mistakes were made, no one
would stop moving long enough to hear it. The band even went beyond their
required setlist and played two extra Fugazi songs, “Reclaimation” and
While maybe not an “authentic” punk rock show–no one started a pit, no one left shirtless–the intimate venue and talented local musicians made the fourth installment of Album Attack a
success. Though rumors are floating of a Rentals-album rehash in
the future, we can only look forward Wilder's next announced move–November's
Album Attack will be the Replacements' Let It Be.
Critics Bias: I've been looking forward to this show since the Album Attack series began.
The Crowd: Enthusiastic thirtysomething friends of the Fugazi band members and the regular crop of whiskey-swilling Long Beach musicians.
Overheard In the Crowd: “This is fucking rad!”
Random Notebook Dump: The rhythm section killed it!!!
Sarah Bennett is a freelance journalist who has spent nearly a decade covering food, music, craft beer, arts, culture and all sorts of bizarro things that interest her for local, regional and national publications.