River City Tanlines / Snake Flower II
Hemlock Tavern
July 7, 2006

Review by Jake Thomas

Even though I didn’t really know shit about the bands playing, my love of matinee shows is so great that it didn’t take much effort from my friend Missy to talk me into attending this affair. What’s better than dropping by a rock show on your way home after work? Not much… A’s baseball and chocolate milkshakes might be the only things to rank higher in my world.

So like I said, I knew very little going into this, but I generally agree with almost everything Missy suggest to me so I had high hopes. Even she didn’t know the opener Snake Flower II, but to me they were the more enjoyable group of the two. Apparently the singer has recently transplanted to the Bay Area from Memphis, so this is a new local act that everyone should make an effort to check out. They had a catchy 60’s garage/psych thing happening – a little Chocolate Watchband, some Roky Erickson…you get the gist of things. I picked up their short EP after the show and it is equally as good if not better than their live show.

But just because I loved Snake Flower II does not mean I didn’t also like River City Tanlines. This band also comes from Memphis, touring across this fair land with their mostly Joan Jett-like approach rock and guitar shreddery. Singer/guitarist Alicja Trout has been in around a 100 bands according to Allmusic but the one most folks in this scene know of and love is The Lost Sounds. Being generally ignorant of her output makes it tough to compare one act to another, so all I can say is she kills on the guitar and single-handedly helps kill the notion that girls can’t rock (not that it was a notion I believed in the first place, but it never hurts to have too much evidence helping out your case). The band was a hodge-podge of influences – some songs sounded bluesy, others metal, and lots of them somewhere between garage and punk. Certainly an act worth seeing next time they roll through town.


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