A+ A-

Carsickness from a Ploughman's Lunch

I finally got out to see some live musick at a show I wasn't playing for the first time in a while. I haven't seen a lot of stuff that interested me recently, but I had to get out to see Carsickness and Ploughman's Lunch again.

This show was at the headquarters for Get Hip Recordings, a garage rock-focused label run by the Cynics' guitarist, Gregg Kostelich. All the proceeds went to the Tree of Life Synagogue, the location of the attack in late October this year by a neo-Nazi in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. Karl Mullen, frontman of both bands, also had tons of art for sale focusing on art in the shape of record release formats (45 and LP). My partner and I looked around the Get Hip store a bit before the show; we thought we would end up unfortunately late to see the bands but were somehow on time. Zack Keim, frontman for the young rockers Nox Boys, showed us around the cool and tidy location. I had my eye on a few things, mostly a compilation by the UK band Gobblinz, but would be back to give everything another look once the musick was done.

Maura Moonshine played first, just solo on an electric guitar except for a short accompaniment by her father Karl. Her set was short and more poppy than the latter two bands. One could call it singer-songwriter, a blend of R&B, country, folk, jazz, and blues in a way that works on a small scale. Though it wasn't exactly my bag, so to speak, I did enjoy much of it, especially the Sonic Youth tone of the guitar.

Next was Ploughman's Lunch. I had seen them last on the final night of the BBT. That night they played long - two sets constituting several hours from what I remember. This night was short and perfect. It was just right and combined the punkier songs about hate crimes and police violence with the happier Celtic melodies about whiskey and love. The band seemed in top form - the bass booming, the small penny whistle happily chiming, the guitar skittling and roaring, and the drums bringing it all together. Karl Mullen had an awesome fuzz pedal that really made his leads rip. That carried on over to the next band too.

Carsickness was last, opening with "Bill Wilkinson", their cult hit song that asks, "what do you say to the KKK?" It's not a friendly message to any white-hooded creep, and it is especially powerful to hear now. When the President has turned treachery to the people of this country and the world and emboldened criminals of a similar persuasion across the globe, it is important to remember Edmund Burke's words about how evil wins. We must always stay vigilant against fascists and bigoted thugs. Carsickness took off on this energy with an all-star set of hard-hitting sonic power and exhibitions of togetherness such as "For You". Towards the end, Steve Sciulli, the wind instrument and keyboard player, walked amongst the audience followed by Dennis Childers, the drummer, as he tapped on everything around him (including his bandmates). The band was joined by Maura Moonshine and Gregg Kostelich. Just when the musick seemed to end, Carsickness took off again for a final reprise of "Bill Wilkinson". Karl made sure to ask us what to tell Donald Trump as well as the KKK. The answer will always be, "fuck you".

We headed back to the store, picked up a few things (thanks for playing the Swamp Rats and The Paisley Zipper band for me, Zack!), hung out for a moment or two, and headed out into the night. I hope to see Carsickness again.