It’s only fitting that I finally write this up, as my hearing is finally back to normal. Lee Bains and company destroyed Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ late Saturday July 19, following a scorching Bouncing Souls 25th Anniversary show, complete with the Menzingers and Ted Leo as an appetizer, over at the Stone Pony. I was in attendance and it was energetic and a damn good time, as all Bouncing Souls shows are. I feel excited to have shared that show with them as a Jersey kid. After the music stopped at the Pony, it was time to meander the few blocks northwest to Asbury Lanes for the after-party: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. For those who don’t know me, I’m a rabid Dexateens fan and have been for many years. This was my inaugural opportunity of seeing Lee with his “new” outfit, the Glory Fires. Just releasing their second record, but first under the legendary Sub-Pop label, Dereconstructed. Congratulations are in order.
Some days are better than others. I’d been genuinely looking forward to Lee Bains III’s singing and picking, Eric Wallace on blistering lead guitar, and brothers -- not only in rhythm but also in blood -- Blake and Adam Williamson on the drum kit and bass guitar ,respectively. The Bouncing Souls show was an extra bonus to add to the rare opportunity of heading out with one of my best friends on the planet, nonetheless to catch a few bad ass bands in the same night. As we entered the venue behind Pete Steinkopf of the Bouncing Souls, I saw Blake and Adam at a table and introduced myself and my buddy accordingly. Lee was nearby in conversation but I did get a chance to thank him for this record and for coming around and playing some music a few moments afterward.
We were able to get a beverage just in time for tuning and, by first sip, I heard the opening note to “The Company Man” and proceeded to desert said best friend at the bar for a prime stage spot. This is something in and of itself, as I prefer to be the large gentleman lurking near the sound board on most outings. I’m truthfully not embarrassed to admit that I fanboyed my 6’4’’, 250lb frame front stage center and bobbed my head so hard I had to have my pregnant wife massage my neck muscles the following day. What transpired was the loudest and best time I’ve had at a show in a long, long time: Bains jumping off stage and ripping solos in the audience not once but on numerous occasions. Wallace melting faces with ridiculous licks and solos, a backbeat that could stop your heart and then restart it at the same time. It was pure rock show bliss. The band commenced to ripping through the new record, Dereconstructed, with a vengeance and left every ear bleeding in the house, or at least made a valiant effort at it. I don’t know about this record being the second coming of the South or whatever it was folks were saying, but I do know that I love it with all my heart and still get a rush from it every single time I play it. I wholeheartedly dig the songwriting, production, noise, emotion, heart, soul, love, politics, Dixie…all of it. It will definitely be on my “Top” list for 2014, hands down. Don’t miss the Alabama four-piece as they move about the country… is Sub-Pop ever wrong?
+Words: Scott Zuppardo+