RAGIN’ FULL-ON: Neutral Nation, back in the day.
You might not buy this, given the band’s propensity for reunion gigs, but the Neutral Nation show at the Living Room on Saturday will most likely be their last. How do I know this? Well, after a run of occasional shows over the past 13 years, Tom Buckland, the band’s diehard bass player/all-around sound guy, will be moving to Florida, where his wife has been working at the prestigious Amrit Yoga Institute. Buckland, who has been burning holes in the Providence scene since 1983, is finishing out his contract with Trinity Rep. “It’s going to be hard to leave,” Tom wrote in a lengthy e-mail. “I have a lot of friends here.” Buckland describes the gig Saturday as “a chance to thank Randy Hien for all the opportunities he gave us. Shit, he let us open for the Ramones, and countless other great bands, like the Replacements, the Bad Brains, Jane’s Addiction, and the Circle Jerks. We helped supply a soundtrack to local life here.”
For this weekend’s gig, NN rounded up some fun openers. There’s a young outfit called GradeSchoolCrush, Buckland’s Newport buds the Brunt of It, and a special one-time-only reunion of What Now?, which includes Dave Auchenbach (Small Factory, Pain and Pleasure studio) and Dave McCaffery (Frank Black, Miracle Legion, Polaris). “They were pretty big around the area in the mid to late ’80s,” Buckland explains. For his part, Buckland feels no regrets about leaving town. In fact, he’s proud of the mark his band made in the decade they were together, beginning in ’83. “I got to tour with great bands and do sound and recording for some great albums. Face it, man, I’ve had a blast.”
When prodded, Buckland also left a few parting words: “I’d be happy if someone would open a club instead of closing one. To the mayor and developers, destroying the entertainment scene downtown is a stupid idea. There will always be bands, some good and some bad. But the audience needs to get back to the original clubs and stop lifting their lighters to tribute bands. The band being paid tribute to is someone else’s local original band playing in some dumpy little local club before they got big. Support your homegrown bands.”
NEUTRAL NATION + WHAT NOW? + THE BRUNT OF IT + GRADESCHOOLCRUSH | June 10 | The Living Room, 23 Rathbone St, Providence | 401.521.5200
You might know that Zox signed to SideOneDummy and they reissued The Wait with new artwork this week. They’ll be playing a special show at the Century Lounge on Saturday (the 10th). With national inroads currently being made by Zox, Monty Are I, and a few of the noise bands in town, will the city benefit? It’s way too early to tell. But it sure has been a long time since we’ve had two bands reel in national deals. Over the past five years, Zox has been pushing hard to make an honest living through music. Same thing with Monty — that band’s been together a decade, and when it looked like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, wham! A train carrying a dossier with a contract comes crashing through. Like a handful of other bands on the scene in and around Providence, Zox and Monty have stayed together long enough to give themselves a chance to succeed, something most local bands never do. Many outfits, for a myriad of reasons, can’t keep their shit together until something happens. For those that do, for those who persevere and allow their music to find the light, there’s no telling what might happen. Really.