Mentioning Roger Clyne's early '90s band The Refreshments, or its later incarnation, Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers, will in most cases get you a blank look, and in some cases, scorn and derision. Clyne's whimsically nihilistic musical stories about Third World barflies and driving into the desert armed only with a bottle of tequila didn't resonate with the flannel generation the way Nirvana did, even if his songs were as good or better.
But you wouldn't have known it inside Reef March 28.
Unlike most weeknight club shows, there was nary a skinny jean, shoulder tattoo or knowledge of the bass player's obscure side project in the house. But there was a packed room full of folks shouting out the band's lyrics so loud Clyne could, on occasion, step away from the mic and let the audience take the lead.
"Thanks everybody. This is kick-ass. It definitely does not feel like a Thursday," Clyne said.
As always, Clyne and Co. didn't bother much with effects pedals or complex time signatures. All they needed was cranked guitars slung low and the top buttons undone on their shirts. It was the kind of no-B.S. rock that moves people to pay $17 at the door for a band whose one-hit-wonder status is undermined by the fact that the song in question, "Banditos"--that one about giving your ID card to the border guard, and how your alias says you're Capt. Jean Luc Picard--wasn't really that big a hit.
But the audience was as rapturous with newer material from albums like No More Beautiful World and Unida Cantina as it was when Clyne played "the hits," from his breakthrough album Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy.
That evening's rendition of "Maybe We Should Fall in Love" from No More Beautiful World was especially energetic.
"You got a little more in you?" Clyne asked afterward. The audience screamed, but what it meant was, "Hell, yes."
However, "a little more" wasn't entirely accurate, as the band played for nearly 40 minutes longer, blasting through Refreshments classics like "Nada," and "Girly," which included a segue into several other songs before returning to its ultra-catchy Chuck Berry-like riff for a big finish.
"Thank you all for the honor of your presence and time," Clyne said. "This thing we do is so much better when we do it together."
Then he threw back yet another shot of tequila and called it a night.