The Fountains played Saturday night in Mohawk Place. Jackyl performed a wild rock show Saturday night in Rock 'n' Roll Heaven.
If it's true, as we approach the millennium, that DNA is destiny, then the Fountains, a harmonically rich, politically righteous band, is doubly blessed.
Twin brothers Jeff and Gary Andrews produce vocal harmonies and lyric writing with roots that stretch back to Bob Dylan and his mentor, Woody Guthrie. More than a whiff of the political spirit of Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton is also present.
Born locally, the brothers now work out of Athens, Ga. It was obvious from the interaction between the Fountains and their fans Saturday in Mohawk Place that the boys' hearts still reside in Western New York.
Their act has come a long way from the two brothers playing acoustics in a coffeehouse in Buckhead, Ga. Superficially, it has added a bassist (Johnnie Hamby) and drummer (Jeremy Allen) and gone from acoustic folk/rock to a more electric rock sound.
It is this folk influence that sets the Fountains apart from the fields of monotone beige tripe that clutter the "alternative rock" market today. Their lyrics are strong and prevalent, and an integral part of each song, as opposed to some bands that seem happy to bury the vocalist under a wall ofoverdriven guitars and crashing cymbals.
The Fountains can do in 2 1/2 minutes what it takes some bands at least 10 minutes to accomplish: drive a big, insidious chorus into your head that will ruin your entire weekend.
They released their first CD, "Welcome," in May 1994; their second, "Stamp," in July 1995; and their third, "Ideal Amusement," this past November.
On stage, they're as comfortable as a flannel shirt, and their coffee house intimacy embraces an audience immediately. Their songs range from "Bourgeoisie Blues," a tract about native American subjugation, to Woody Guthrie's "Dough-Re-Me" and Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues."
The band has a dedicated political conscience without being didactic. They observe more than preach. The close harmonies are reminiscent of another pair of siblings, the Everly Brothers.
Friday, the boys jammed the Bitter End in New York, and the next night it was boogie time in Buffalo. The best example of their hometown love was expressed in Jeff's "I'm Back," a litany of things the Andersons do whenever they're back in town.
One childhood friend screamed with delight when she recognized herself in the lyrics. Blending rock and folk with incredible songwriting abilities, Jeff and Gary have a unique sound. Needless to say, the show rocked.
-- Jim Santella
ROCK 'N' ROLL HEAVEN:
So this is Jackyl, and what have you done, you've taken a Southern band and reduced it to crumbs. And so happy Christmas, alternative bands, you've destroyed another rocker, now it's your wonderland.
For those who think the popular shift from hard rock to alternative has left bands like Jackyl cowering in the dust, think again. You can't keep a good man down, and you especially can't keep a big-mouthed Southern boy with a lasso-roped microphone down.
Just who is running scared?
"Radio stations are running scared," drummer Chris Worley offered before the show. "They're trying to find out what the next big thing is, so they're playing everything."
Except Jackyl. The performance Saturday was sponsored by radio station CHTZ from St. Catharines, Ont.
But, air play or not, Jesse James Dupree and company were confident that if they gave a show, fans would attend. And if they didn't? "We're gonna play anyway," said Worley.
That they did. Storming the venue with its eardrum-massaging volume, the Atlanta-bred band incited the capacity crowd with its warm-and-vulgar holiday show. Microphone stands were decorated with red and green guitar picks; the obnoxiously fun Dupree applied these to the sweaty foreheads of his guitarists. Donning a Santa cap -- only for a moment, after all, long-haired, gruff-voiced rednecks do have an image to portray -- Dupree wished his fans a profanity-wrapped merry Christmas and, after downing a shot of whisky, released a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho."
"You're not in any hurry tonight, are you?" he asked before stomping into tributary renditions of Grand Funk's "We're an American Band," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Gimme Back My Bullets" and AC/DC's "Live Wire."
Songs from the band's current release included "Locked and Loaded," a tune that was written and recorded with AC/DC's Brian Johnson.
Dupree brought out his chain saw for the band's signature hit, "The Lumberjack," the blues-based ditty that is still and probably will always be Jackyl's best song.
Local band Stealin' opened the show. Sporting a new line-up, the hard-rocking, Buffalo Music Award-winning band performed guitar-dominated tunes from its debut release.
-- Michele Ramstetter