Frank Smith + Beat Awfuls

Lots and lots of the Lot Six
By WILL SPITZ  |  January 18, 2006

FRANK SMITH: No banjo? No problem.The holiday spirit was still going strong a week ago Tuesday night on Newbury Street. It was the Other Side Café’s annual end-of-the-year party and coworkers and friends were noshing on barbequed steak tips and swilling beer when five members of the band Frank Smith took to the front of room and launched into the jaunty, harmonica-driven “Take All the Things,” the first song from their 2004 album, Burn This House Down (Lonesome). Brett Saiia, who joined the band on banjo soon after last year’s Think Farms (Lonesome) was recorded, was conspicuously missing. “Where’s the banjo?” someone shouted. “He’s throwing up,” frontman Aaron Sinclair replied. With Saiia at home and out of commission, the band focused on their last two discs and played only a few songs from their banjo-heavy forthcoming album, Red on White, which is due in the spring.

After a long break, during which year-end awards were given out to the café’s employees (drummer Drew Roach won the “all-around” honor), the band emerged for a second set looking loose and sounding as such. The crowd proceeded to hoot and holler along with Dirty Holiday frontman Chris Warren when he joined Frank Smith for a rousing rendition of the Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia.” The band played a couple of more tunes, including a countrified version of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and decided to called it a night.

Two nights later at ZuZu, Dave Vicini — who plays with Sinclair and Frank Smith bassist Dan Burke in the Lot Six — and his new self-described “fake” band/solo vehicle Beat Awfuls made their second-ever appearance. With TL6 laying lower than usual while they await the release of their new Get Baked on Youth Kulture (Plastic), Vicini has taken the opportunity to get some songs out of his system — 18 to be exact. At the show he passed out homemade copies of the new Beat Awfuls “double album” — a full-length called The Fall of Love and the Wild Child EP — a lo-fi tour de force that sees Vicini embarking on blues and country explorations, dubbed-out diversions, sound collage safaris, and everything in between.

His live band — Burke on bass, Warren on lead guitar, and Dirty Holiday’s Tommy James on drums — segued from Spoon-like simplicity to Sonic Youth noise outbursts while Vicini, his guitar high-slung on his tall frame, sang non sequiturs with the same wild-child abandon he displays at Lot Six shows. At one point, in “Go Awaying Staying,” he sang, “Let’s get real/Let’s get fake.” Let’s hope he opts for the former with Beat Awfuls, without letting the Lot Six fall by the wayside.
Related: False endings, Frank Smith at Great Scott, Auld lang syne, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , The Rolling Stones, Sonic Youth, Chris Warren,  More more >
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