Saturday, July 16, 2011

21. Three Dollar Crunch at the Barley House, 7/15/11

21. Three Dollar Crunch, at the Barley House.

What is hip?  Those shorts.

And so to wrap up the evening as it began, we watched the rest of Three Dollar Crunch's set at the Barley House.  It was free and there were anywhere from 25 to 40 people there paying attention to the band over the course of the night.

This band is a funkified blues jam band from Fort Worth, consisting of either five or six players that night (one person seemed to have left the stage partway through.)  Tonight, it was keyboard, drums, guitar, bass, sax, and trumpet.

You got to funkifize.  In a line.

Decked out in shorts and frat-boy-approved footwear, Three Dollar Crunch provided the Barley with a good three hours of granola funk and blue-eyed swamp blues.  While the jam band experience is not our thing, N was appreciative of the energy they put into their show.  R liked it as well, but thought he might have appreciated it even more when he was back in high school, in the spring of life when young men's tastes run toward laid-back party jams that impress the babes.

All of the lads in Three Dollar Crunch play very well (and some of them play several instruments with equal skill).  We were astonished in turn by the lead guitarist, keyboardist, and drummer, though the entire band interacted seamlessly.  They presented themselves as an assured, well-oiled msuical machine.  In comparison with their playing, we weren't as impressed with the vocals, which strained to reach the world-weary, whiskey-drenched growl of the greats who make up the roots of funk and blues, and were largely imitative.  Of course most of that can be chalked up to the youth of the guys in the band.

The music veered from Tower Of Power-like funk to ZZ Top-style texas blues, even veering into keyboard-driven pop-jazz that was reminiscent of Traffic.  The crowd was appreciative; we saw some serious drunk white boy chicken dancing, that kind of loose-limbed arm-flapping shuffle that is the highest of praises an inebriated college lad can give his musical hero.

When they finished up, we started the crowd yelling, 'Play one more!"  They seemed reluctant, but then the keyboardist said they would, if we all yelled "Fuck."  So we all gave loud voice to the profanity, and true to their word, the band treated us to a grinding cover of "Jesus Just Left Chicago," lasting over 15 minutes.

In sum: This was the most entertaining band of the evening.  If we were going to hire one of the three bands from tonight to play at a party, Three Dollar Crunch would be the one.  The energy was high, the musicianship was exceptional, and the guys looked like they were having a great time.  Would we rush out to buy their CD, if they had one out?  No, but they are a terrific bar band with a funky punch.

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