Notes From the Past….THE WHIGS

Getting Whiggy With It…Two Times.

The Whigs
9/17/08- The Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa, CA
9/20/08- San Diego Street Scene

Parker Gispert has a thick, throaty growl with a touch of country; Tim Deaux is a mutton-chopped bass player light on his feet; Julian Dorio is a fiercely powerful frenzy with sticks in his hands….all of the individual parts equal an impressive musical whole born of Athens, GA called The Whigs.   And, no, their name is not a derivative of The Afghan Whigs. That’s straight from the mouth of babes…or the mouth of drummer.

Think some of the best stuff that has come by way of quality college radio; under the radar and bursting at the gills with raucousness and healthy, noisy guitars.

Think southern rock that you actually don’t mind constantly exploding out of the garage three houses down from you. You only wish that they’d invite you over for a beer and a jam session.

Think well constructed hooks, crashing melodic noise, pop-friendly but drowning in rock riffs.

Think this is good stuff.

The Whigs are young and talented and hitting on all cylinders and I get the feeling that this is their time to show the uninformed what driven youth and young manhood can bring to a stage.

Did you catch that segue? It’ll come in handy later.

Julian Dorio
I caught The Whigs on 9/17 at The Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa and on 9/20 at San Diego’s Street Scene. Two shows, two different settings. The Detroit Bar show was their opening set in a dark, cozy club atmosphere as they were banging out some shows with Tokyo Police Club; Street Scene had them rocking in the sunshine on an elevated festival stage on a San Diego street. Both settings had them playing to a healthy number of people who had no idea who they were but there was a difference. To me, the difference between the two performances was not the sunshine…it was the stage. The physical stage. That’s because these guys need room to move about because, if they share nothing else with you, they will share their energy and energy is half the rock and roll battle. Lucky for us, Julian Dorio (drums) stays stationary because the energy that he harnesses behind the kit could very well hurt somebody if allowed to traverse a stage. But Parker Gispert and Tim Deaux make the spaces their own, as they set off a head-on guitar/bass collision, mobile to the grooves and chords and, fortunately, all three of them have great hair made for thrashing with enthusiasm.  

Parker Gispart

Both sets showcased some of the band’s meatiest and tightest pieces of work from their 2008 release “Mission Control” and “Give ‘Em All A Big Fat Lip” from 2005: “Like A Vibration”, “OK Alright”, “Hot Bed”, “Already Young”, “Right Hand On My Heart”. Throughout their set, it’s a revelation to hear Gispert vocally navigate the songs from gentle honey tones to outright howls that come from God knows where. Although I do worry when he attempts to swallow the microphone.

Both shows opened with the swaying title track “Mission Control” (the drums, alone, make it a car-worthy album. Turn it up.) and upped the rock factor by 10 and left it there throughout, only (barely) cooling things down long enough to allow Tim to shine (and I do mean shine) on guitar and Parker on keyboards for“Half The World Away”. There are enough Southern touches that honor where they come from but the proof is in the heft of their weighty, solid beats, jumpy bass and rangy guitar and their ability to sink themselves into your ear. Chorus, hook, line and you are sunk.

The Detroit Bar and San Diego Street Scene crowds both approved of what they saw and heard and, at the end of both sets, people asked me the name of the band which is always a good sign. That’s because this is good stuff. Does it matter that they’re signed to Dave Matthews’ label? Absolutely not, at least not to me. What matters is that they’re signed and have the opportunity to expand their craft and blow people away on stages across the country.

Tim Deaux

Some of you lucky b*$@*# can also catch them pulling opening act duty with yet another mighty band that’s as Southern as a mint julep: the Kings of Leon. Now that’s an ass-kicking double-bill, my friend, and now the segue has come full circle. Kings of Leon = “Youth and Young Manhood”. If you don’t have that album, you should.   Damn. I just realized that I’ve seen The Whigs three times this year. I guess that means that I like them. And that the title of this piece is all wrong.

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