Sunday, July 02, 2006

A midsummer’s night in Gainesville

At least a couple of local journalists and club owners have declared this week a “slow week” in Gainesville. This can be debatable considering the number of quality shows in the next few days. Gainesville’s Mercury Program made a triumphant return Thursday evening at Common Grounds. This week, bands such as Whiskey & Co., Papercranes, and Two Finger Suicide all play headlining stints in their hometowns.

Friday evening was no exception. The evening began at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub where local favorite DJ Donna was spinning some of the best eighties tunes, and will be all weekend. With her tip and request jar quickly filling, Donna spun everything from Madness to Madonna, Stray Cats to Social Distortion, and many others in between, all from her impressive collection of vinyl.

After getting an old-wave appetizer, it was off to Tim & Terry’s, the restaurant/ convenience/music store that also doubles as a performance venue. There, noise duo Liquid Limbs were sweating up the back room along with technical power trio Nim Sum.

Liquid Limbs are an up-and-coming guitarist/bassist and drummer. Sounding closer to Sonic Youth than The White Stripes, however, Liquid Limbs played a tight, urgent set of punk-meets-indie rock, further proving the incredible musical power that can be unleashed by a mere two musicians. The guitarist, decked in a blue button-down shirt, set out some of the band’s free stickers on a nearby chair, adding that stickers are much cheaper to produce than CDs.

Then, as Nim Sum drummer Jimi “Stixx” Hiley was still setting up his kit, guitarist Patrick Dugan and bassist Morgan Caraway began warming up, which became a spectacle in itself, as they traded quick bursts of riffing that fell somewhere between the band Interpol and the material on Radiohead’s album Kid A. When Hiley segued into the mix, it was like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle sliding into place; the full musical power of Nim Sum was then complete. Caraway’s mother was in the audience, who was celebrating her new retirement earlier that day, along with his aunt and stepfather.

Some have referred to Nim Sum’s sound as “math rock,” but their perpetual groove is not something you don’t have to be a Rush fan to appreciate. While their chord and rhythm changes might be tight and precise a la something by the band Fantomas, their music has enough heart and soul to appeal to the most casual of music fans. Caraway also announced that the band will begin recording a new CD this week. While Caraway seemed the band’s official spokesperson, Hiley played the role of music director, whipping out a tentative set of songs early on, which eventually found its way spiked onto the top of his hi-hat cymbal.

After Caraway ended the set by feeding back his bass into his amp, the band jumped into their final song of the evening, “Fracture.” Closing by sliding an Arizona Iced Tea up and down his bass neck, another hot, steamy evening of music in Gainesville came to a close, until the next time. We’ll do it once again in less than 24 hours.

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