In The Red is happy as a pig in shit to add Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Mystery Girls to their roster. Their debut album on Trickknee is an absolute monster and when people get a load of the band’s second album, “Something In The Water”, it’ll become obvious that these guys are one of the very best rock n’ roll bands going and they’ve definitely avoided the “sophomore jinx”. For further testimony we go to Ben Blackwell of The Dirtbombs:
I walk over from the extra room at the Lager House. The room with the nuisance of an unnecessary pool table. Five, young white guys occupy the stage. This is a good start. You see, I too am young and white and far too often does our kind get mistreated just because what we turn into (old white men) run the world. I ain’t no politician or CEO and neither are these guys. They are fucking young. I’m all of twenty, and the band members are all either nineteen or twenty. Fuck some kid younger than me playing in a kickass band. I knew this day would come. I can just imagine me passing him in the hall in 4th grade, he in 3rd, thinking how much more advanced and sophisticated I was in my one extra year I’d spent here on this earth. Well the 3rd graders have finally caught up to me.
The lead singer, Casey, bleats out steady chops on the harmonica. “White boys playing blues nice”. But it didn’t sound fake. I hate fake. Too much music is fake, done because it’s cool or because you’re trying to become famous. I could tell instantly that this was the real shit. These boys have no other choice. The only music that they will ever play is bluesy, rock, rolly. It’s in their blood, just as much as drinking or watching the Packers (probably). Judging is wrong when you think about it, but always judge a man by his shoes. I saw two pairs of converse all stars and two pairs of beatle boots. You may now procede with the rocking portion of the evening seeing as you have passed the shoe test. From left to right, blonde guitar player, kinda bumpkin looking blonde-hair, plaid button-up shirt and fingers that know the fretboard better than Detroit livers know bars. He even pulls out SMART stage banter, saying “atticus finch is my favorite character in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I’m inspired to speak, squawk, yell…”Boo Radley” I say. “Naw, fuck him, I like the strong silent type”. It was a moment we shared and probably one he’ll never remember.
Next to him, skinny, bispecled bass player looks like he goes to journalism school or some ambitious shit. Wearing a homemade shirt that says “Free the Jazz”. “Fuck,” I think to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that first? What’s wrong with me?” Center, with perfectly un-coiffed hair mopping around, is Casey, the Mick Jagger incarnate. Too many bands nowadays don’t know how to have a lead singer. He needs to be flashy, but not flamboyant, he needs to move, but not look like a fool, he needs to have a voice, but also be able to scream. Casey fills all these slots and a few more that hadn’t been invented until I saw the Mystery Girls live. I’ll be damned if his eyes weren’t closed for most of the performance, grimacing as he fell over the bass drum, but it was a glad grimace, one of enjoyment, elation, pleasure. The handful of times he opened his eyes, all one could see was white. Trying to decide whether a band member is fucked on drugs is great. He could be smacked, drunked, coked out of his mind…or he could be so into the music that he’s just feeling it, soaking it in, feeling like a sponge. He even rapped his tambourine the right way…it’s the kind of thing you don’t realize can be done “right” or “wrong” until you see someone (in my case, Casey) do it SO FUCKING WELL, that seeing a tambourine “played” any other way MUST be wrong.
Behind him, a crew-cut drummer. Looks almost out of place, like the longtime friend who only joined the band cause he had the only drumset in town (that town being Green Bay). But not holding his looks against him, he performed his task perfectly, locking in with his bass player to handle the down time when guitars, outta tune, would riff, solo, wail…whatever. Far right, another guitar, Les Paul, looking like the kid in high school that you never had nothing against, but never really got to know. Said “hi” in the lunch line, complained about the price of French fries, bummed him a fag in the Smokers Den before class, but never expanded on that. It was noisy. An aquaintance of mine said if they tightened up they’d be great. No, fuck you…they are great, stuff like this is best left sloppy, bowing at the home plate of Chuck Berry, the New York Dolls and the Oblivions. It’s times like this when I’m at my happiest…when I see a band DOING IT RIGHT!!! There’s so many different kinds of right (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, A-Frames, Happy Supply, Modey Lemon) but each one, they gimme this feeling…this JOY that everything in the world is perfect while I’m listening to them. Like nothing else matters. That god himself has divinely inspired the group in front of me in such ways that perfection isn’t an option, it’s the only choice. These Midwest burnouts connected to me. I can smell my own, they pissed in my face, and we were soon wolves of the same pack.