Tiny Meadows, Erin Tobey and Al Burian, March 5, 2007 at the Brian McKenzie Info Shop

Nothing like a good acoustic/quiet/reading show while yr on vacation. Not a lot of time between sets, no loud bands that are terrible and you can hear everything. Such was the fine night I had this week at the Brian McKenzie Info Shop with local mini group Tiny Meadows (1/2 of the quartet showed up to play), Richmond’s Erin Tobey and punk rock cheerleader Al Burian.

Meadows is the new vehicle that Christian Brady is utilizing to explore a new musical territory. Brady of course was part of the space punk sensations Mass Movement of the Moth that suffered a terrible premature death. But Brady does not disapoint with Meadows. He truly is an original song writer and musician. There is nothing straight forward about Brady’s acoustic presentation. He is no mear folk revivalist or hippie with a guitar. Christian applies the same youthful experimentation and wonderment to the Medows project as he did with MMotM. His set included many songs from his demo tape and he was accompanied by Stephanie Barrow to bring some more volume to the jams. The duo also tackled Brian Wilson’s “Vega-Tables” during their set with masterful enjoyment. Be on the look out, a little bird told me the group is hitting the studio soon for a full length release.

Erin Tobey followed the evening with some shimmering bed room pop music. Erin Tobey is a recent east coast transplant, a member of Richmond’s triumphant Pink Razors and a part of the Plan-It-X Family. She was accompanied on the low end strings by band mate Jeff Grant. They wipped through a bunch of songs from her Plan-It-X album that I picked up and rocked a Mazy Starr song. She totally pistol whipped that guitar. I’ve seen a lot of folks play soft, sloer pop music with out much guitar work but our friend Erin Tobey played triumphant adding a richness to the music, bringing shimmering vibrations to her fantastic music. I am a convert for sure. A future indie superstar, Tobey does it all with the frantic Pop Punk of the Razor’s and her 90’s inspired solo work. Get into it. Now.

If you do not know Al Burian you are a foolish person. He has spent the last umpteen years of his life dedicated to punk rock in a way so few people have before and even fewer continue to. Punk Rock is his life. He opened the show with a rendition of Black Flag’s “Black Coffee” and never looked back. He delivered a good hours worth of musings on punk rock and his life as punk rock. He read from his book Natural Disasters, told stories about his first experiences with punk rock and quoted “Coptic Times” by the mighty Bad Brains to a stunned youthful crowed. There was a lot of tension in the air that night. Al was a man possesed. He may have felt out of his element and the kids in attendendance I think were very intimidated by his pressence and with good measure. Al Burian is the real deal. He has devoted his entire life to what he beleives in, and that is doing what you want, how you want and answering to know one. Few in the crowed I fear will ever really have a taste of the life Burian has lived and breathes and their intimidated, dear in headlights reaction to Burian’s boiling water delivery was perhaps justified. In true punk rock fashion the man offered up his goods for a pay what you can, what you want system and the mob of people whipping out their wallets (this writer included who dropped his one’s for Burn Collector 1-9 anthology) to get a piece of the life. Al’s stories are eloquent, insightful, self evaluating and intense. He should be considered a modern day member of the English Literature cannon, and with any luck he will not be confined to the muddy history of punk rock.

The night proved that punk rock is not three chords and a break down with some skinny, tattooed fucker screaming at you. No, this evening was living proof of the ideas set down by D. Boone and Joe Strummer and their compaitriots. Punk rock is about doing what you want to do, streching the boundries of sound and exploration and finding with in your self and the people you interact with what the world is all about. It is not a notion of rejection, but the creation and ownership of life. We all approach punk rock differently (those who still embrace it’s meaning anyway) and Tiny Meadows, Erin Tobey and Al Burian were all proof of this, all the while using artistry rather then destructiveness. They created their own ideas of what punk rock is all about. It was a moment in time that made everything feel alright.

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