It has been said in the past that rock’n’roll has no age limit. True enough, we often see videos of the youngest children playing instruments with precision, as well as people like Buddy Guy (age 80) selling out shows across the country.
Musical ability does not judge – if you have it, you can do it.
As we approached The Spacebar on Friday night, we noticed that the club was strangely empty. Eerily so for a location that was about to have a concert. In fact, other than ourselves, the doorman and the opening band, there was no one else to be found. As someone who had played to an empty house before, I knew the perils of being a young band, but I also knew that every chance you had to play out was another chance to make new fans.
As it turns out, the reason the venue was empty was because the headlining act was manned by four 16-year-old dudes, and (for obvious reasons) their younger fans could not be allowed in a bar setting as such. Fortunately, the fans started to filter in. By the time Rat Motel took the stage, there were 30 or 40 people standing right in front and ready to rock.
Guitarist/vocalist Seth Peacock later told me that this was the biggest venue they had played at and were excited that so many people decided to show.
I was a little taken aback by their nonchalant attitude towards their setup. You could tell they hadn’t played much when they essentially laughed through their sound-check without really refining any of the sounds. Youthful ignorance is bliss, I suppose.
But for what the band lacked in experience, they made up for in noise. The opening tune, Yellow Wall, featured extremely loud yowls from Peacock, which were unfortunately indistinguishable between the guitar fuzz and heavy bass. The song had a decent groove to it and the crowd’s energy started to build. A small moshpit broke out for Three AM, which sounded like a song pulled straight out of the 1960’s, with organ-style keyboard sounds and guitar work similar to the Kinks or Manfred Mann.
Next up, we had the slower Alan’s Bed, which definitely did not seem to fit with the rest of the evening. The keys clashed horribly with the guitars, and even the crowd stopped nodding a little as Peacock screamed into the mic. Fortunately it was followed up by their best jam of the evening, Dead Man Jones, in which another moshpit broke out. Bassist Leo Russ showed his true rock chops with some thundering string work.
Summertime Jack showed more potential groove from the band, as Russ and drummer Clayton Peacock worked their notes together. You could tell the crowd was having fun, as someone threw a blow-up parrot onto the stage. That wild act was followed by a fan drunkenly jumping on stage for Steady and throwing dollar bills on the keyboardist Paul Martinez-Watkins, as if we were all in a strip club. It was a dull song, but it was definitely a memorable visual spectacle.
Dog was another tune that featured phenomenal bass work from Russ and blistering guitars from Peacock. The only downside is that almost all of the vocals were drowned out by the buzzy distortion.
The crowd continued to feed off of the musical energy radiating from the band, and I got to wondering on Great Scott why the band wasn’t moving much on the stage. Seth Peacock informed me that they had really only been together for a few months and were still trying to find their groove.
Despite that, you could tell that everyone around us was having a blast. On the final song, Peacock and Russ switched stringed instruments and showed a little vocal harmony as they punched through a cover of White Reaper’s Half-Bad. There was much fan clapping all the way through, bringing a huge smile to Peacock’s face.
On one hand, it was refreshing to see a younger band be able to bring a crowd to a show like that. Peacock told me that they were still working to carve their specific niche, but that they were enjoying what was going around so far, and were looking forward to playing bigger shows as their musical arsenal grew. He said that this was their first show with a four-piece, and told me that he loved being the only guitarist because, as he put it, he loved to “do it all.”
On the other hand, while they were some pretty cool dudes with obvious talent, they all needed a lot of refinement. The show was carefree and musically loose, and eventually when they record again they’ll have to hammer in a few nails to make it all stick.
I will say that this was probably the most crowd energy I’ve seen at a live show in a while.
As for now, you can check out their Bandcamp for an album recorded by the Peacock boys last year, and keep an eye on their Facebook page for more future shows coming up.
- Yellow Wall
- Three AM
- Alan’s Bed
- Dead Man Jones
- Summertime Jack
- Great Scott
- Half-Bad (White Reaper cover)
Rat Motel – Yellow Wall