AN ENTERTAINMENT POWERHOUSE The Warren crew.
Veteran punk rock quartet Senior Discount returns to the live circuit this weekend as part of the big Lupo’s/WBRU Block Party on Friday. And national retailer Hot Topic has invited the band to play a string of acoustic shows around New England throughout the summer (check their MySpace page for the full schedule). The Warren-based foursome recently released the five-track EP . . . And That's Goodbye free of charge on their newly-enhanced site (seniordiscountmusic.com), homebase to the infamous S*D multi-media machine and their KISS Army of followers, the VBW Kids. The new EP is a decidedly different approach from their well-received '06 debut, There Were Four Who Tried (which culminated in Best Music Poll victories in '07 and '08). It reformats S*D originals such as an impressive acoustic version of "Caley's Song" and a bluegrass rendition of their live favorite "Ataxia," with the comically profane chorus even more prevalent here in its nimble unplugged setting. "Don't Hate Me" and the title track are welcome additions to the S*D catalog, and their raucous cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" will surely light up the outdoor stage at Lupo's this weekend (they're scheduled to perform around 8 pm), for Senior Discount are still in the business of rocking out and engaging their fans, while they attempt to sort out their immediate future after a brief partnership with the now-defunct White Noise Records. Meanwhile, Goodbye has pumped fresh blood into the band, as noted by guitarist Chuck Staton.
"The new tracks are all much more layered and thought-out than the recordings on our first album," he told me last week. "We've been wanting to sort of re-group and re-launch ourselves as a band with a new Website, new live show, and new music. We really want people to see that we've become sort of a powerhouse when it comes to entertainment, and making it free in the beginning is a good way to get more people to experience what you're about."
"There isn't much money to be made, but we just love what we do," said lead guitarist Tom Wells, "and we wanted to give our fans something special, so we decided to offer the EP for free."
I had to ask if they foresee any "street cred/sellout" backlash from the Hot Topic hookup.
"We obviously don't exclude anyone at all but truthfully, you always want to pay attention to the kids who are between 14 to 17, because those are the kids most open to new music," Staton said. "We try to make hearing our stuff, knowing about our shows, and checking out what we do incredibly easy and cheap for the fans," Staton said, "but it's difficult to get kids to even download the free EP if they don't know us yet."
Senior Discount revels in multimedia excursions, from their Jackass-inspired 2007 DVD debut VBW Kids Attack: The Senior Discount Movie, to weekly podcasts, short films and YouTube clips, and RSS feeds. The question will always arise: Does that cheapen or detract from the music itself? Staton recalls one such inquiry:
"Some douchebag in an unnamed band once told us he loved our music and our videos, but that we needed to pick just one," he said. "But why? I don't understand how doing a podcast would adversely affect playing music. I think most bands aren't as multifaceted as we are, so it's odd for them to see one group of people doing a few things well at the same time. But we do."
SENIOR DISCOUNT @ THE LUPO’S/WBRU BLOCK PARTY | Lupo’s, 79 Washington Street, Providence | Friday, July 10 @ 5 pm | $17.50 | Full lineup @ lupos.com
Mix it up
FROM BLUEGRASS TO NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL
Drink plenty of water and cranberry and re-calibrate the liver for another entertaining weekend, starting THURSDAY (the 9th) when Firehouse 13 (401.270.1801) hosts a low-dough affair at with TRIANGLE FOREST opening for New York City's STELLASTARR*. There's some free "bluegrass on the green" at Everyman (401.751.3630) starring local yokels THE BOURBON BOYS. And the Greenwich Hotel's weekly rock and roll curator (and former RI Idol finalist) FRANK MARTYN leads his house band all night, and head back there on FRIDAY (the 10th) for MIKE G. & ASSOCIATES; never a cover, call 401.884.4200 for more. Also on Friday, the Blackstone has STALEMATE (new album due in August) with VOLCANO KINGS and K-REX STRUTS, and on SATURDAY (the 11th) must-see local acts WHITE HONEY and RUSTIC DRAMA hit the Bucket, call 401.726.2181 for details on both gigs. Jerky's (401.621.2244) delivers indie-pop with locals FOR THE LOVE OF SLOANE opening for PAPER ROUTE and Oakland's AUDRYE SESSIONS. Start the night at AS220 at a special screening of Until the Light Takes Us, with scary-ass insight into the dark and deadly world of Norwegian black metal. The directors spent two years in Oslo chronicling authentically evil, church-burning, homicidal loons who make G.G. Allin look like a saint. Doors at 6 pm, $10 and limited seating, call 401.831.9327. And all of this, of course, while SOUND SESSION 2009 fills the Downcity streets (hit providencesoundsession.com for complete listings). SHARKS COME CRUISIN' wrap a busy weekend, rocking the SS'09 Narragansett Beer float through downtown Saturday night, and on SUNDAY (the 12th) SCC sets sail to the Penalty Box on North Main Street, headlining the "Extravagansett Electric BBQ" with acclaimed bands BROWN BIRD and BARN BURNING, among others. Burgers, blues, and booze start at 5 pm, call 401.331.8545 for the scoop. Settle down on MONDAY (the 13th) at the Firehouse Theater (firehousetheater.org) in Newport, which has a new weekly live series delivering local maestros specializing in folk, Americana, and Irish music. The intimate in-the-round setup is BYOB — sounds like a sweet deal. This week features JACKIE BARTLETT and BILLY MITCHELL, call 401.849.FIRE for more. And Club Hell hosts indie-folk outfit COTTON JONES (their new disc Paranoid Cocoon is fantastic) on WEDNESDAY (the 15th) with Boston's MEAN CREEK and locals WRONG REASONS opening up the 6 pm show.