Spies In America, Blue Button, and Rough Francis at Higher Ground February 10, 2017   Leave a comment


Rough Francis pic by Luke Awtry Photography


I had a great time seeing music last Friday at Higher Ground. I arrived a bit early and soaked in the atmosphere as wisps of smoke danced above the sharply lit blue and red stage. I chatted with Cam Barrows for a bit but it was soon time for the show.

Spies In America opened with a set of classic punk and rocked hard. I missed the names of the guys playing bass and drums but they were joined by Jessica on guitar and vocals. She had a low slung guitar and reached down to hit the notes hard. Her voice was strong and loud without being a punk scream. Her stories between the songs kept the audience engaged and the music was nothing but furious fun. They opened with a song called Heroes and followed with a song about the patriarchy called This Art Fights Back. They played a Circle Jerks cover with a rewritten last verse then announced they would play a slow song. The drummer sang it and it was the fastest song of the set. A powerhouse version of Rebel Girl followed and I was in heaven. The next song was something about being better than this. They said they had only played a couple of shows in the last 13 years and weren’t really a band but had a new song for us anyway. It was called Conversion Therapy and it rocked hard with the same strong political message as the rest of their music. They closed the set with a Ramonesish rocker and that was that. They were just great.



Spies In America pic by Luke Awtry Photography

Blue Button came on next and kept the place rocking. They played with a bit of a darker heavier sound which bodes well for the future. They opened with a new epic instrumental called Pissing At Flies then rocked out My Bitter End. The next five songs were new and fun so they should have a new album on the way. Their punk sound was brilliant and Eric Olsen ripped out some serious leads. James and Frankie held down the rhythm and Jason Cooley sang and played guitar. There was another instrumental and a song about a window symphony. I had heard City Hall Park before and it continues to grow on me. After seven songs they went back to their Love Angry album for a blistering version of We’re Closed. They eased up a bit for How It Goes then played their big Hit. They threw a cool breakdown section in the middle. They ended the set with a raucous Bullshit and that was that. Whether they are the classic quintet or a modified quartet of a band, they always put on a fun show.



Blue Button pic by Luke Awtry Photography

With a tiny bit less punk fury and a bit more of a soulful sound ROUGH FRANCIS rocked the stage hard. They opened with some new songs that I did not know but thoroughly enjoyed. One was something about taking off your mask and showing me who you are, and one was about missing you and I didn’t think that I could. The fourth song was a rocking version of I-90 East. Songs with themes about how we’ve got to come together and don’t look back followed. A fun and heavy cover of Fortunate Son was a surprise then they continued to rock us with MSP2 and Blind Pigs. Songs about that lovely feeling that goes strait to your veins and getting out while you can followed. They eased up a bit for a searing Staring Out The Window then played songs about coming together in the darkness and every day. They started a slow jam that built and built and built until it exploded into Comm To Space and that capped the show. They came back for a well demanded encore with a crazy punk song and capped the night with Not A Nice Guy which they dedicated to the crazy bullies in Washington DC.

I headed out pretty quickly after the show but was thoroughly sated by all the great music I was lucky enough to enjoy that evening.



Rough Francis pic by Luke Awtry Photography



Rough Francis pic by Luke Awtry Photography



Rough Francis pic by Luke Awtry Photography

Posted February 19, 2017 by tmusicfan in Rock Shows

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