I have pondered and considered, and I have determined that what this city needs - OK, one thing of many that this city needs - is more bitchin'-ass slide guitarists.
Bitchin'-ass. It's a technical term. It means "bitchin'-ass."
I came to this realization Saturday night watching Ten Miles Of Bad Road at Hell's Kitchen. Jakob Jess is in Ten Miles Of Bad Road, and all aforementioned slide guitar-related adjectives - I suppose it was just the one, over and over, actually - apply firmly to him.
Now that I think about it, we're also running a little short on harmonica-playing drummers here in T-town, so Ten Miles of Bad Road can fill that niche, as well, with Justin Hosea in tow.
The crux of it really is, I suppose, we don't have much of a country-rock scene here in Tacoma - at least as far as I know. Maybe country rockers are everywhere, and I just don't land at those shows. But Saturday was definitely a Telecaster night out at Hell's Kitchen - three such guitars in the span of two bands which in most cases means that country music was involved somehow.
I was glad to finally see Aces Up, with whom I had played a show at Hell's Kitchen's former digs, but never actually heard. Aces Up hail from Bonney Lake, and I guess if any part of Pierce County was going to produce lyrics such as, "I like my trucks like I like my women / Big and beefy with a torqued-out engine / Might take a little while to get her going / But once you got her started man she don't stop a-rollin'," it might as well be Bonney Lake.
Aces Up's MySpace describes the band as a "unique blend of blue-collar country and the distinct sounds of the famous Seattle, Washington rock scene." However, I submit that Ten Miles Of Bad Road suit this description better. Aces Up is tight, straightforward country rock. Ten Miles have the grunge on them and in them - a dirtier crunch, a looser feel and a penchant for train-wreck endings.
Since both bands seemed pretty excited about alcohol, I'll give it to you in those terms. Aces Up is a summer barbecue with a cooler full of beer - in cans. Ten Miles is a couple friends holed up in a leaky-roofed dive with two glasses and a bottle of bourbon. A cheap bottle of bourbon. The headache will be worse in the morning, and you might not be able to find your pants, but damn if it isn't fun while it lasts.
It also means Ten Miles of Bad Road is a little less like country, which makes me more likely to go see them. I don't mean that as a dig at the quality of Aces Up, because the band is good at what they do. I just don't really like country that sounds like country - at least the kind of country you hear on country radio stations, as the poor overworked buttons on one ex-girlfriend's car stereo can surely attest.
I would tell you the next time you can see Ten Miles Of Bad Road in our fair city is March 11 at O'Malley's, but the band's calendar appears to be confused and insists that they are simultaneously playing the Central Tavern in the Northland. So I'll point you to March 28 at Jazzbones instead until they clear that up. Aces Up can be found at The Swiss next Sunday, Feb. 28.