Friday night at the Hi-Tone, beer was flung, pants were removed, and the rock was brought. Night two of Gonerfest 9 started with the Nots, a three-piece, all-female Memphis punk band with former members of Bake Sale and the Manatees. I apologize for not getting any video of their set, which was awash in chorusy guitar smears — think "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me" Cure or Throwing Muses with a straight-ahead rhythm section — but I was so mesmerized it was over before I had pushed record.
Next up were the Bad Sports, who turned in a solid performance that would turn out to be a warm-up for what came later. Then the Gary Wong Group from Mobile, Alabama, introduced what to my remembrance is the first on-stage gong in the history of Gonerfest, which happened to be manned by musical madman Mr. Quintron.
Led by charismatic frontman Don Goldberg, Melbourne, Australia's, Bits of Shit tore up the club like it was their job, proving once again that the Aussies know what they're doing behind the guitar. Then it was time for the Tanlines.
I've been watching Alicja Trout play rock-and-roll for longer than I might care to admit, but, backed by Bubba John on drums and T-Money Bishop, last night's atomic performance was as good as I have ever seen her play. It made me think back to the Nots at the beginning of the night, who were a group of women who had been clearly influenced by Trout's prolific music and fearless stage presence.
Before the last set, I cornered Goner co-owner Zac Ives in the Hi-Tone parking lot where we talked about the growth of Gonerfest, the "family" atmosphere, and, on a slightly more serious note, the effect of Memphis' notoriously high airfares on a festival which attracts attendees and bands from all over the world.
Friday's finale was Oakland, California, native NOBUNNY, who, backed by the aforementioned Bad Sports, turned in the show of the festival so far. Supplementing his usual bunny mask with a Pussy Riot-style balaclava, some light bondage gear, and very little else, the Goner recording artist whipped the crowd — most of whom had been at it since the afternoon show at the Buccaneer — into a complete beer-spraying frenzy.
Mr. Bunny, your cover of "Pretty Vacant" was awesome. Now I'm off to Murphy's for the beginning of 12 more hours of killer rock-and-roll. Does anyone know how to get that sticky beer residue off a video camera?