The Whigs & Buxton at Fitzgerald's, 6/12/2014
It's not every day that you get a pure rock and roll show. It seems as if bands are doing everything but rocking out to their full potential, but the Whigs do not fit in that category.
Thursday night at Fitz, the Athens three-piece took a page out of Nigel Tufnel's Spinal Tap book and turned the volume up as loud as can be before ripping through an hour and a half of straightforward garage rock.
But then the Whigs have always found love in Houston whenever they make it here. Since 2008, they've been playing a show in town nearly every year in support of the regular onslaught of studio efforts they've afforded us in their now-lengthy career.
They know what they're doing onstage, and enjoy every last minute of it. Front man Parker Gispert is one of the nicest dudes when you get the chance to spark up a conversation with him, but onstage it seems like he lets out any and all frustrations he might have in life through his guitar. And he couldn't do any of it without the help of Timothy Deaux's crystalline bass play and the handiwork of sticksman Julian Doro lending a never-breaking backbone to the set.
These three guys, without wavering, have been putting out solid records for the better part of a decade. After their original bassist left to join MGMT and later Kuroma, Deaux joined the band to tour their second album (and my personal favorite), Mission Control. Ever since his arrival, though, the Whigs have delivered both impressive studio material and an enduring, consistent live show.
And last night was no different, only louder. The trio's last performance at Fitzgerald's, which was on the same downstairs stage, was not nearly as ear-piercing as this one. And their loudness initially attracted me to the band, so for it not to be there was a bit of a disappointment. Back in 2008, when they played the small room at Warehouse Live, they used every inch of the venue and filled it with their guided racket. Last time, however, was missing that noisy kick they've become known for. Gispert questioned during our brief chat at the end of the evening, "What's a rock show that's not loud?" I agree, Parker. Wholeheartedly.
Their latest record, Modern Creation (New West), has already drawn some rave reviews, and the Whigs brought a handful of the new songs Thursday, but peppered in quite a few others from their entire discography. The highlight of the night came during their bigger-than-life tune "Staying Alive," which is altogether a different song than the Bee Gee's disco hit of the same name. They broke this song down into an intricate guitar-and-bass duel between Gispert and Deaux which eventually built to such a climax that it exploded everyone's eardrums in the dark, dank and sweaty room. It also made a grip of new fans out of those unfamiliar with the band before the show.
Review continues on the next page.