The Girl With The Hat: Archie and the Bunkers live
“You never forget a name like Archie and the Bunkers”
A friend of mine told me that, when I mentioned this concert to him. He had heard that name before, and it made him smile to think of it.
“They sounded really good, but it’s just that name…It sticks with you”
When I got to the Ballroom, there were very few people. I quickly found Karli and a place to stand, and within 15 minutes the amount of people in the tavern doubled. By the time the 1st band came on I could barely wiggle out of the crowd to get water without having to touch people.
The 1st band, Ma Holos was unlike any show I had ever seen before. Musically they were great, absolutely fantastic. Their musical style was infectious, I couldn’t help but bob my head and shake my hips in time with the music. I didn’t expect much out of them, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed their performance. The singer thrashed about the stage and gave his all into the performance, jumping off of speakers and whatnot. For an opening band, they were pretty good.
Shitbox Jimmy, the 2nd band, was not great at all. The band didn’t move around much, and the vocals were lacking, and not in the punk-inspired sense where it is intended to sound that way. I was tapping my foot impatiently and waiting for their set to end. Musically, it was okay, but nothing was spectacular or stayed with me.
Before their set I was able to talk to brothers Emmett (Drums/Vocals) and Cullen (Organ/Vocals) O’Connor of Archie and the Bunkers. After introducing myself, I asked them how they came up with the name for their band. (Something told me there was a story behind it.) Emmett laughed and told me that it came from an old TV show called Maude that they were inspired by. They started throwing some band names together and came up with Archie and the Bunkers, because Archie Bunker was one of the main characters on the show. I also asked about influences, because, you know, those are always important. I thought they sounded like the Doors meets the Sex Pistols meets something new entirely, and I was half right. Some of their influences include: The Doors, The Damned, The Dead Boys, Jimmy Smith (jazz organ),Buddy Rich (jazz drumming), The Screamers, and “all the good Cleveland punk bands”. I was also curious as to why they wanted to start the band in the first place. Normally, that’s not something that just happens.
“We’ve just been playing music for…forever. Since we were kids we were always playing music together and and it…just…kind of…evolved”
After I finished the rest of my questions, which were basic- name, age, instrument- I wished them luck and got a picture with them (see above). I cannot say enough how sweet Emmett and Cullen were. Despite being this intense, suave, punk band they were really kind and were more than happy to answer my questions.
Soon the time came for Archie and the Bunkers to perform, and it was amazing. They cranked the volume up all the way, and did their thing. It was so freaking loud. Even as I write this my ears are still ringing (it was worth it). The performance itself was excellent, they really captured the punk vibe that they were going for. Emmett’s crazed look as he sang, screamed, and beat the cymbals to death, and Cullen’s Little Richard-like organ playing and manic expression added to their I-don’t-care stage presence. They mostly played songs from their new self titled album, but for the encore they played “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges, and “Five to One” by the Doors. The covers they did were pretty good, adding their own flare to them but still leaving the songs recognizable.
The music that just the organ and the drums create is incredible, really.You’d think that the music would be left lacking something, but it doesn’t. The organ puts you in a bit of a trance (in a good way ;) ) and you easily lose the beat of the music. Then you hear the drums that guide you back to the here and now, reminding you of the 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 that you should be bobbing your head to. The vocals then come in to compliment the other two by putting some thoughts into your head as you are being hypnotized. Amidst this experience, you are reminded to try and understand the message they are trying to send. There is something about the organ that creates a completely different vibration that I felt from my toes all the way to the brim of my hat. The harmony that the drums, organ, and vocals create is mesmerising and you can’t help but sway your hips and put your hand in the air. It is this effect that makes me say that their sound is very original, taking elements of Jazz and Punk and mashing them together to create what they are now.
If you have not heard any of their songs, here are the links to my personal favorites:
All in All: 4.5 Stars!!