Train From Kansas City: Ghost Mice @ The Buffalo Room 6/3/15
When I heard Ghost Mice were playing The Wesport Flea Market, I assumed there was some sort of mix up, and were probably playing The Westport Saloon or some other Westport dive more commonly associated with DIY acoustic shows. Shame on me; The Buffalo Room is an all ages venue attached to the eastern most part of the Flea Market and is a perfectly fine venue with a modest stage, spacious crowd area, and full bar/ menu. Apparently this welcoming all ages venue in the heart of Westport has been putting on shows semi-regularly for years with out my knowledge. Woops, this venue was perfect for a Folk Punk show and I hope to see what they could host in the future!
Opener Paul DeGeorge of Harry and the Potters fame played a singer songwriter set that borrowed songs from his many hillariously conceptual music projects. Degeorge’s demeonor and stage presence did indeed conjure a (slightly Jewish) Potter-esc lookalike. The song that drew the most crowd solidarity was a heart break ode to all the SLOW Ms. Pacman arcade games out there- a sentiment near and dear to the author himself.
Destroy Nate Allen was next on stage, but traded it for the pit. DNA asked the crowd to form a circle around them so the fun could begin. Through crowd interaction, costume changes, headset microphones, catchy choruses and above all a genuine and immediately likable synergy between the members, Destroy Nate Allen gave the crowd a reason to sing, to dance, and to work together in a positive, safe environment; DIY Folk Punk ethics in a nutshell!
Chris Clavin’s Ghostmice started as a way to play simple honest music anywhere you wanted with just what you could carry on your back. The original acoustic guitar/ fiddle two piece traveled extensively bringing sporadic incarnations of it’s mighty Ethos to DIY communities across America with the same work ethic first generation hardcore bands had in the early 80′s. But unlike the original grassroots punk movements, Ghost Mice (and many other bands that would become branded “Folk Punk”) presented a stripped down blue collar sound with the traditional accessibility of older Roots Americana.
This night was a first night of tour in a very long list of first nights of tours. Chris tours with as much merchandise as can be fit in a suitcase and trash bag, all of Plan-It-X Records bands. This is his record label and an invaluable staple in the Folk Punk community. With bands like Soophie Nun Squad, Against Me!, Japanther, Waxahatchee, Ghost Mice, and Andrew Jackson Jihad, Plan-It-X demonstrates that running an ethical DIY record label isn’t only possible, it can be a career.
Chris is apologizing to me for not having my size of a shirt, weaving tales of local bandits stealing merchandise shipments off his porch in a way that makes you feel how natural GM lyrics must be for him, when his merch guy gets his attention and tells him the sound guy “really” wants to talk to him. “Yeah” Chris responds, “I’ve been running from him all night.” Chris may have grays in his beard these days and his Devilock doubles as a comb over but he glows with the same energy as the twenty-somethings that hit the road every year on their first tour, no doubt inspired by the music he created and the platform he created for it to reach a new generation of punks.