As Arcade Fire picked up the Grammy for Album of the Year, a very different show was happening at a spot where that band performed six years ago.
While no one at the time would have predicted that Arcade Fire would make such a huge leap in such a short amount of time, the prospect that any of the bands on the bill at Solar Culture on Sunday will make a similar jump seems even less likely—and I'm sure that suits them just fine. Fun, not future Grammys, was the goal.
Unfortunately, I arrived too late to catch Acorn Bcorn's set, but I got there just in time to see what may be the final performance by The Creamys. The band's married bassist and drummer—Billups Allen (a Weekly contributor) and Amy Shapiro, respectively—are moving to Brooklyn at the end of the month. If it was the last show, it was a damn fine final hurrah. Singer-guitarist Travis Spillers, one of the funniest dudes in local rock, was in fine form—he pitched Amway products from the stage—as was the rhythm section. The trio charged through the bulk of its songs, which are essentially bubblegum pop tunes sped up and performed with abandon, with enough variation to keep things interesting. There was "I'm Sad," the happiest-sounding song about being sad since whatever Morrissey put out most recently; and the gleeful "Drive-In!," which celebrates the titular American institution with a melody more infectious than herpes and—gasp!—an octave jump that doesn't sound at all cheesy. Then, of course, there was the song about the Waffle Hut. "Waffle House?'" one audience member shouted. "No, the Waffle Hut," Spillers casually responded. "Their competitor."
Former Tucsonan and current Bay Area resident Justin Champlin, aka Nobunny, was backed by a three-piece band for his set of rough-hewn punk rock. While his recorded material largely draws from vintage '50s rock, the live versions were performed with a much sharper edge. Clad in tight black briefs from which handcuffs dangled, a midriff-hitting black leather jacket and, of course, his trademark raggedy, maniacal-looking bunny mask, Champlin and his charges were a flurry of sound and motion. The packed house ate it up: When was the last time you saw crowd-surfers at Solar Culture?