Last Saturday I had the chance to snuggle up to Kepi Ghoulie and Andrew Jackson Jihad at Tucson's very unique anarchist collective, Dry River Radical Resource Center. The reason I say snuggle is because Dry River is qute a tiny place; bands play on the floor, and they only ask for a $3-5 donation at the door. This is where AJJ plays every time they come to Tucson and we're all very happy that they do.
Okay, enough about the venue...let's talk folk. The night started out with local folkies Great Job! and their name says it all; they are great. They do a nice cover of "Superman" by 3 Doors Down. Next up was Dan Janish; he was an acoustic folk-by-way-of-honky-tonk act that put the crowd in the mood for the next act, Mr. Kepi Ghoulie.
Kepi Ghoulie is easily one of the best performers to come out of punk rock. His stage banter is so on point and funny it's hard not to crack a smile listening to him. He played a great set of acoustic jams accompanied by his bass player Dino. Dan Janisch came in and joined him on a few songs as well as a local fella sitting in on upright bass for a couple as well. During his last song, "Tornado Love," a giant tornado hug started in the room and grew steadily until it crumbled. Overall, Kepi was enjoyable and with "Milo and Otis" playing in the background (don't ask why) it made it even more enjoyable, mostly because Kepi kept referring to them as members of his band.
Next up was an interesting treat: Ben Barnett and David J. from Kind of Like Spitting were next on the bill. Even better is that they are both really good friends with Sean Bonette from AJJ, so he joined them as well for one rocking acoustic jam session. They statred off with a fun folk jam that led right into a cover of Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl" -- very neat. This was a lengthy session between these guys, which included Frogs covers and some great solo songs from both Ben and David. A very nice set, and after talking to Ben outside after his set, I realized that he is one nice fuckin' dude.
Now it's time for what we've all been waiting for: the Jihad. It was nearing midnight and the place was still pretty much packed. Sean and Ben took the floor and launched into one of their slower tunes from last year's Only God Can Judge Me EP. After that, Ben told Sean that the next song had to be a rocker, and someone shouted "No More Tears," and they played it. After a mix of songs taken from OGCJM and their split with Ghost Mice, they launched into a great medley of songs from their most recent full-length, People That Can Eat People Are the Luckiest people in the World. It included "Brave as a Noun," "Survival Song" and "People II: The Reckoning," and finally "Rejoice." After a few words they went into "Jesus Saves" and my personal favorite, "Little Prince." About halfway through the show, Sean randomly brought up Raffi and someone said that he should play some. He informed us that he didn't know any, but David J. sure did. So as a nice surprise, David came up and played Raffi's classic "Apples and Bananas," with almost the whole crowd joining in. AJJ ended the night with a sing-along version of "People" and had Ben Barnett help for one last song, but I took off before that because it was nearing 1 a.m. and I had to work in a few hours. Overall, a great night filled with acoustic guitars and lots of gang vocals. It seemed to be a shorter set than usual for AJJ, but who cares? They were up close and personal, and the show didn't cost anything,