At the end of a politically charged week, one in which the Doomsday Clock was officially advanced forward to two and a half minutes to midnight—in a symbolic countdown creeping humanity ever closer to the apocalypse—revelers found hope in booze, smoke and not-dead-yet beats of rock ’n’ roll.
Fronted by Nogales resident Andy Puig, the newly christened Flight Thirteen (formerly known as The Jagg) kicked it out to a bar crammed with hipsters this past Saturday night at Che’s Lounge. The lads were in high spirits celebrating guitarist Kyle Rees’ birthday and a milestone. “We're officially a Tucson band now ... we’ve played 5 shows here,” says Puig addressing the audience, that simply could not have stood any closer to the band.
The band’s new moniker homages The Dearly Beloved, the godhead ’60s Tucson psych-garage combo band and their inescapably great 7” “Flight Thirteen" (Split Sound, 1967) penned by Terry Lee.
With fluid, spirited guitar lines, Farfisa organ runs and three-part vocal harmonies at the forefront, Flight Thirteen—who reference points fall into the lush sound of west-coast bands circa ’66 and ’67 such as Love and The Seeds et al—have developed their own raw, energetic sound that winks more at the first psych era (’65-’68) than it does the debauchery of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in Tom Wolfe’s ’68 masterpiece Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
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Sandwiched between ace songs—“Moderation Honey” and “Street Hassle” (not Lou Reed!) that speak of being “out on the edge of time” and “getting hassled by the man”—Flight Thirteen took a moment to make a poignant political statement. “We ain’t gonna build that wall, right?” Referring to mook Trump’s insanely racist Great Mexican Wall promise. The manifestation of humanity gathered at Che’s cheered in complete accord.
Finding asymmetrical balance somewhere between Devo and Charlie Feathers, with six albums to their credit, Golden Boots—fronted by Philadelphia area transplants Dimitri Manos and Ryen Eggleston—shared the stage that night.