Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Jessica Mickey0
Say Hola to Amigo
This Thursday (Aug. 1), dust off your Stetson and strap on your shit kickers because local venue the Tin Roof will turn into a rollicking cow-punk honky-tonk when the Charlotte-based band Amigo takes the stage with hometown buddies Elonzo and Charleston’s own Double Trash (formerly Happy Story Hour) with Jordan Igoe and Mackie Boles.
Amigo was formed in 2012 by guitarist/singer Slade Baird, drummer Adam Phillips, and bassist Craig Lentz shortly after Baird returned to Charlotte from a brief jaunt in Philadelphia.
“Adam and I played together in a Charlotte punk/New Wave/indie-rock band called Kimosabe in the late 2000s,” Baird explains. “I left Philly to move back home and start an honest-to-god rock ‘n’ roll band and record and tour and never have to work in a cubicle again and hopefully die young and pretty in a pool of my own puke.”
Luckily for him, Phillips was down for the new project. Baird, who also plays in another Charlotte-based band, the bluesy and distorted rockers Motel Glory, was introduced by bandmate Greg Ellis to Lentz, who finished out the core trio.
Musically, Amigo brings to mind early Drive-By Truckers meets late-era X with a touch of Terry Allen, featuring pedal steel and playful yet insightful lyrics of good times lost and found again. Baird, an avid record collector, sights the band’s influences as Doug Sahm and the Sir Douglas Quintet, Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson, and Jonathan Richman, but really, they seem to fancy themselves as being all over the board, influenced by their deep musicophilia.
“Punk rock from the ’70s, indie rock from the ‘80s, hippie music, country music… my record collection is out of control, and we draw from everything we like, and we like all kinds of stuff,” Baird says. “Recently, I’ve been on a big doo-wop and ’60s pop binge, and that comes through on our upcoming LP Might Could [scheduled for release in the fall].”
For Might Could, their first professionally recorded full-length album as a trio, Amigo learned how to do a lot with a small budget. “Money is always a challenge,” Baird admits. “You can take all the time you need, and it’s still not enough time to make it all perfect. But we worked with good people. Scott Solter [engineer/producer that has worked with bands such as Superchunk, Durham-based band Bombadil, and the Mountain Goats] recorded it, and he’s a genius, but he’d hate me for saying it. We brought in a bunch of badass musicians to help us get the sound we were going for. Working with good people helped us avoid a lot of problems as opposed to being cheap and compromising.”
Overall, Baird and his bandmates are extremely happy with the results. “We aimed high with this record, with the instrumentation and trying to achieve a sound that sounded like our favorite records, but showcased the specific thing we do,” he says. “I think it sounds fantastic, and I think we really accomplished what we set out to do with our first record.”
“But still — next time, I’m going to need the vintage Mellotron and 60-piece orchestra,” he laughs.
Fans will have to wait until the fall to hear the Might Could LP in it’s entirety, but for the time being, Amigo is hitting the road to expose their sound and generate some buzz.
“This is the first time we’ve played in Charleston, but Charleston is becoming one of the coolest music towns around, and we hope to start making regular visits,” Baird says of the Holy City.
As for what their audience can expect when the band takes the Tin Roof stage on Thursday, he answers, “We have fun, and we smile a lot; musical perfection and polish are secondary to putting on a show and entertaining all the nice people! We take our songwriting process seriously, but when we get in front of an audience, we want people dancing and laughing with us and to remember us for what a good time they had at our show.”
“So, if you’re into Radiohead covers,” he adds, “We are the wrong band for you.”
Amigo joins Elonzo and Double Trash on Thurs. Aug. 1 at the Tin Roof. Admission is $5. For more information, visit facebook.com/amigotheband and reverbnation.com/venue/tinroofwashley.
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