Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
Monday July 20 2020
7:30PM doors -- music at 8:00PM
••• 21 AND OVER
Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends
alternative rock, post punk
garage punk weird core
Allen Epley, Paul Malinowski, Jason Gerken, Josh Newton
-from Kansas City, MO
-Shiner formed in 1992 and soon found themselves signed to DeSoto Records, (owned by Jawbox’s Kim Coletta and Bill Barbot). The band began a creative high and a busy touring schedule that endured for years, with their final album in 2001 The Egg a critical success. Pitchfork said, “Shiner's six-string bloodletting beats the crap out of anything you'll hear on commercial FM these days" and All Music noted, "The songs themselves bask in an epic splendor, replete with the kind of arrangements that reward repeat listenings" Along the way countless tours of the US, Europe and Japan, and 4 full-length albums gave them a fiercely loyal set of diehards. Comparisons with their contemporaries of HUM, Jawbox, Failure, and Swervedriver were unavoidable, but Shiner carved a path of their own with a dedication to song-craft and musicianship wrapped in darkly sugared hooks.
Shiner broke up in 2002 but 10-years later re-released The Egg on vinyl and played sold-out shows in New York, LA, KC and Chicago. Those were some of their biggest shows ever and many in the audience were new to the Shiner fanclub. In 2018 the 4 of them - drummer Jason Gerken, bass player Paul Malinowski and guitarists Allen Epley and Josh Newton decided they were not quite finished, there was another life for Shiner they could not ignore.
After a few recording sessions that took place over a year and a half, the band have emerged with 8 solid songs that make up Schadenfreude. The LP was self-produced, engineered, and mixed at Malinowski’ own Massive Sound studio in Shawnee, KS. “We've always been extremely hands-on, even when working with someone else technically ‘producing,’” says Newton, “with The Egg we ended up remixing and adding things to almost half the record on our own. At this stage in our existence, we know what we should sound like.”
Despite the hiatus, Shiner have not missed a beat Gerken is still a drummer's drummer and his heavy right foot is tied to Malinowski's distorted-symphony bass. Epley and Newton hew left and right in the mix and worked in lockstep counterpoint throughout the proceedings and leave room for the vocals to enter the mix without overtaking, and instead working as a whole within the strings and skins.
The songs on Schadenfreude are not so much an answer to The Egg as some properly timed follow up might, but instead stand on their own. It’s the sound of a 4 piece band with each player finding his place in a book as though he just left the room an hour earlier and picked up on the next paragraph upon return. Epley says, “a lot of themes on the album are pretty dark but always with a silver lining around the edges. The title itself is a commentary on the most common human trait of enjoying your rivals' demise. Or your apparent enemies.”
After their extended break from the studio and life on the road Shiner is once again looking forward with the May 8 release of Schadenfreude and a North American tour planned for 2020.
Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends
-from Milwaukee WI - Oakland, CA - Louisville, KY - Los Angeles, CA
-The guy’s name is Conan Neutron. The band is Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends—the North American trio comprised of singer and guitarist Neutron, drummer Dale Crover [The Melvins], bassist Tony Ash [Trophy Wives & Coliseum] joined by producer Toshi Kasai [Tool, Foo Fighters]. Together, they proudly present their third outing, Protons And Electrons, a collection of twelve 7” vinyl/online split singles presented together as a double album/double CD set. Why Protons And Electrons? “Because,” Neutron explains, “Protons, Electrons and Neutrons make the atom.”
A ringmaster of all things wildly heavy, startlingly poppy, undeniably rocking and delightfully weird, the front man (and namesake) and his pals bring to you this culmination of nearly three years of work.
Protons features a different Neutron Friends song, each composed and conceived as a single by the group; heavy, poppy, frantic or jagged, many aspects and facets of the band are represented. Electrons, on the other hand, features the B-sides courtesy of various musical comrades such as: Dale Crover Band, Thoughts Detecting Machines, Turbo Lightning and more, all musicians who play in live incarnations of The Secret Friends, record with the group or have some profound significance to the existence of the band. (Protons, Electrons, and Neutrons make the atom!)
Conceived as an avenue for discovery as much as a celebration of community, Protons And Neutrons twists and winds, seeking to tell no story other than the unfiltered joy of the act of creation and weird rock and roll itself. There is no expectation that you know the other bands, but you might find something you like. “It’s a surprise gift for people along for our whole deal!” Neutron excitedly exclaims.
Conan Neutron is certainly no stranger to taking a unique approach to creating music. Call his music smart, kooky, weird, quirky – you name it, he’s heard it before. Ghettoblaster described his music as “A wiry and adventurous rock ‘n roll that is equal parts Cheap Trick, Fugazi, the Cars, Black Sabbath and DEVO with perhaps Mean Streets era Van Halen mixed in,” with Mxdwn dubbing it “A paradoxical mix of accessibility and abandon.”. In 2015, The Secret Friends made their debut on Enemy of Everyone followed by the 2016 release, Art of Murder—a gleeful concept album about Hannibal Lecter with a dedicated following.
Along the way, the group earned acclaim from the likes of KPIX-CBS, The Bay Bridged, The Big Takeover, The Stranger, Milwaukee Record, I Heart Noise, Bandcamp (New and Notable), WMSE, and others. Since then the band has earned a reputation as a fierce and worthy live rock act, playing shows across the country with an ever-rotating cast of players.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there is something for everybody” Neutron explains, “but there’s something for people with a sense of adventure or people willing to take a ride with something that isn’t shameless genre music, but if safely consonant ‘garage rock’ or bands with riffs in search of a song are more your thing… it’s a big world out there.”
Pop aficionados can sing along to songs like Jilted Dragon and Hate Secretary. Purveyors of the heavy are referred to hard rockers like RECANT! and The Vig, while those who simply like to rock can line up for Paved Age, Litany of Grievances and Parade of Deceit.
On Protons, Neutron and company made an attempt to step up the game, breaking down all boundaries and adhering to only one rule: “Whatever the songs were going to do, they had to do it, get in and get the hell out. No overthinking, indulgence or indecision allowed.”
One day after Election Day 2016, Neutron entered Kasai’s Sound of Sirens Studios in Los Angeles alongside Crover and Ash to commence recording. During a fittingly “Weird time that has only gotten weirder since” as he calls it, the three-piece locked into an unbreakable groove as evidenced on Protons.
“I just want to make solid rock music, it’s what I live for” Neutron leaves off. “For me, that means changing things up and challenging the listener to come along on the trip. By doing things differently, I hope we accomplished that.”
Gabe, Cole, Eagret, Alex
-from Oakland, CA
-Nopes are four dudes from Oakland, and Never Heard of It is their impressive debut. They’re talented musicians, and in their songs, they congeal disparate corners of rock‘n’roll—the screams of punk, the hooks of power pop, the melodic patience of indie rock, and impressive guitar solos that dart all over the place.