In order to qualify for Smashcrashbash, Hudson’s semi-regular rock ‘n’ roll party at the Half Moon, you must:
B) Crash or
To recruit his acts, series curator Peter Aaron – of the Chrome Cranks and a number of more avant noise projects – casts a net both wide and fine. Wide: Almost any genre qualifies –from blues and squawk jazz to metal, punk, hardcore, garage, psych and soul – as long as certain basic standards of wattage and decibelity are met. Pretty much only Iron and Wine is disqualified (shame, that, as Sam Beam is raw and pure in his own quiet way – let the beard do the screaming, brother! – but the primal yowl of confessional folk is well-represented down the street at the Spotty Dog anyway). Fine: Aaron is…well, unerring in his ability to separate the genuinely raw, primal, visceral, unschooled, yowling and cathartic from the posing pack, the real wolves, regardless of genre.
Consider July 5’s Smashcrashbash #9 lineup. The Golden Grass (pictured above) are a pure contemporary anomaly: an unapologetic ’70s c*ck r*ck band who sing “Easy Ridin’ Woman” over a 124 BPM half-time pocket with utterly committed, fuzzed-out riffage that would do Mick Ralphs and Tony McPhee proud. They cite Cactus as a prime influence. (You don’t remember Cactus; you probably do remember the rhythm section’s previous project, Vanilla Fudge.) The Golden Grass are punishing and, in their own way, pristine. Their pre-metal, historical hard rock concoction would smack of academic calculation, were it not so obviously joyous and genuine. It kills live and is surprisingly satisfying on record.
Paired with this retro delight is New Paltz’s It’s Not Night; It’s Space (INNIS), a dark psych band who believe that nothing less than a total trance state is quite worth the effort. This instrumental trio has been dogged in the pursuit of hypnotic rapture since 2010. Loud, heavy, generally slow-tempo, strangely serene and enveloping, INNIS’ adeptness got them signed to Small Stone records. They’ve since become the curators and the flagship act of the Hudson Valley Psych Fest, an event modeled after the famous Austin Psych Fest – at which the Golden Grass performed this year. Let’s run it again.
Smashcrashbash #9 with Golden Grass, It’s Not Night; It’s Space & deejays Magic Stranger & Sean McDevitt, Saturday, July 5, 9 p.m., Half Moon, 48 Front Street, Hudson; https://thehalfmoonhudson.com.