On any given weekend, Downtown Tucson is rife with opportunities to see great live rock and roll. This Friday night is no exception.
With a tremendous amount of buzz preceding the actual event, and a wall to wall crowd gathering in Club Congress, Katterwaul’s CD release party is obviously the place to be. But will the band live up to the hype? Are they just another local scene flavor of the month?
As the show begins, the jury is still out. There is an enormous merch table, a rather elaborate camera rig and nicer gear than the average Tucson show. The lights begin to dim and the soundtrack cuts out. It’s do or die time. But the band has yet to appear.
Instead, a video starts rolling on a projector screen behind the stage. It’s the title track to Katterwaul’s new CD release “Fifteen Forever” featuring album cover model and band muse Kerrie Walls romping in an expanse of white sand over a garage rock ode to teen inspired adult arrested development.
At last Brittany Katter and her band take the stage. Each player is dressed in some shade of red, bassist Laura Horley and drummer Ben Schneider in basic preppy t-shirts and jeans, and guitarist Jeff Lownsbury in all black with a red sheet draped like a cape over one shoulder.
Katter herself cuts an interesting figure, willowy and angular in her red and black vintage 80’s style dress and short blonde haircut. She looks at first a bit shy and awkward, the wallflower at the party. Then she plugs in and starts to play, in a full force, balls out, garage driven sonic assault. No shrinking violet, this one.
Katterwaul delivers strong, solid, classic garage rock with a heavy dose of fuzz and a backbone of driving rhythm ala Iggy and the Stooges, The MC5, and a healthy dose of the Velvet Underground.
Lownsbury’s possessed and inventive, effects heavy guitar solos often commands center stage, as does Katter’s aggressive rhythm guitar and strong, intense vocals – a high pitched howl evoking P.J. Harvey, Karen O. and Siouxsie Sioux.
Underneath it all Schneider and Horley build a steady, pounding attack, a train track of a rhythm that does a bit of magic on the near capacity audience. For once there is dancing, actual dancing, at a Tucson band’s Club Congress show. If you’ve lived here very long you know this is a rarity, like a hundred year flood, or seeing the Northern Lights.
At the end of it all, the crowd demands an encore, or three encores, or six encores, but to no avail. Katter and her band, drained, exhausted, and spent, depart to sign album copies and the spell they wove begins to slip away a little as the house lights come back up.
Katterwaul is Brittany Katter (Vocals/Guitar,) Jeff Lownsbury (Guitar,) Ben Schneider (Drums) and Laura Horley (Bass.) Their latest release, 15 Forever, is available on Commercial Appeal Records.
Copyright 205, Julie Jennings Patterson
Reprinted (with permission) from www.thetucsonedge.com