It was during the fall of 2011 that one of Tuscaloosa’s great shows occurred: Callooh! Callay! laid down the gauntlet and set themselves up as an upper tier Tuscaloosa band by playing a two set show at Green Bar: the first half was dedicated to the band’s own work; the second half was The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour played in its entirety. It was a bold feat, and they pulled it off. It wasn’t flawless, but the energy of that show was something special, brought by both the band and the equally excited audience. Callooh! Callay! did an excellent promotional job: the Beatles album was only hinted at as the date drew closer, though most of their friends and fans knew what to expect by the night of the show. On the evening of the show, the Green Bar was at a capacity that it hadn’t seen for a Thursday night concert in a while. It was soon apparent that it was going to be less of a show and more into an event with the band members taking to costume of “Strawberry Fields Forever”-era Beatles and providing a light show straight out of the Sixties with the help of overhead projectors and food coloring. The undertaking was arduous, but for the crowd, it was an amazing experience.
While I’m not sure that two shows like that could be called a trend, there is something similar happening tonight, Thursday, October 18 at Green Bar: up-and-coming band Junior Spicy will stake their claim at Tuscaloosa history by attempting Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in its entirety after a set of all originals. And that, my friends, will be quite a feat.
If this does become a trend, what bands are up for it next, and whom would you like to see give it a go? Will we see Baak Gwai attempt Built to Spill’s There’s Nothing Wrong with Love? Or will Sparrow & the Ghost cover all of The Dead Weather’s Horehound? How about August Spies doing The Ramones first album? Maybe The Cancers could give us their version of The xx’s Coexist? And haven’t Hartle Road already done Born to Run from first song to the last?
It will certainly be interesting to hear and see how Junior Spicy captures the diverse and sonically dense arrangements of one of rock’s most recent classic albums. The band is supposedly full of guys with an attention-to-detail sensibility that a group would need to even want to dream up such an endeavor.
The band’s originals certainly display their talents, though the songs lack any edge or excitement.
You have to give the band credit for even wanting to try this. A misstep won’t ultimately result in anything resembling a failure, even if Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a favorite amongst many. But if the band knocks it out of the park with the performance, that could easily cause them to be known as the next band in Tuscaloosa to go and see.