Concert Reviews

Over the Weekend: The Buckingham Squares at the Mercury Cafe

The Buckingham Squares • Receiver
Voodoo Stingray • The Nuns of Brixton •
03.13.10 | Mercury Cafe

Maybe actually wearing nun habits as part of the stage costume is a gimmick, but for The Nuns of Brixton, it left an impression. As the name implies, the Nuns are a Clash cover band. Instead of going through the motions, though, they really went into each song, with Jim Yelenick performing with his usual fervor. The act was actually pretty convincing despite looking utterly ridiculous.

Voodoo Stingray, up next, includes former members of The Pink. The act had kind of eclectic roots sound akin to bands like the Gun Club, Wipers and X, which folks plenty fired up, cheering and dancing. If Del Shannon punked things up a lot more, his songs might've sounded like this. The quarter brought a lot of personality and variety to the kind of music that could otherwise be of a piece. After performing a bracing version of The Pink's "TV Man," the group closed with "Remember."

Not many people seemed to know much about the band Receiver, but when the four guys kicked into their set, there really was no ignoring them. The performance recalled the sort of punk you'd hear out of Denver about a decade ago, the rambunctious, vital, rootsy, garage punk that was once in vogue. Toward the end of its set, Receiver brought Ned Grant to the stage. Apparently they were in a band together called The Butt Corks in 1979, when they played at Jesus Saves with The Frantix -- which was that band's first show. Grant fronted the band for a rendition of "What Love Is," a song that gave the whole unit a darker edge.

When The Buckingham Squares were setting up, plenty of people were whistling and cheering in anticipation. By the time the sextet was ready to play its first song, a cover of The Creation's "Makin' Time," the whole area in front of the stage was crowded with people a dancing throng. The Squares' set was comprised almost entirely of obscure covers of '60s garage rock bands.

And the Squares, which features Matt Bischoff and Ricky Kulwicki of the Fluid, were playing for keeps. The songs didn't just sound good, they sounded real, like the band had a personal stake in the material and not just in its execution. This is exactly how this sort of music was meant to be experienced: Raw, loud and without the instrumentation losing its power in the recording process. The Squares closed with "Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?" by The Ramones and back to back covers of The Osmonds' "Crazy Horses" and "Search and Destroy" by The Stooges.

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Any opportunity to see Matt Bischoff and Ricky Kulwicki (among others) play is worth taking. Random Detail: Ran into Kelly Knudsen of The Speedholes as well as Jim Hucks. By the Way: Dolly Zander was dancing to all of the bands, and Sherri Hern was filming much of The Buckingham Squares' set.

The Buckingham Squares Set List | 03.13.10 | Mercury Cafe

01. "Making Time" - The Creation 02. "Sorry" - The Easybeats 03. "Come On" - The Chocolate Watch Band 04. "It's My Pride" - The Guess Who 05. "Leave My House" - The Modds 06. "1-2-5" - The Haunted 07. "Ain't No Friend of Mine" - The Sparkles/The Tribe 08. "Midnight to Six" - The Pretty Things 09. "Baby What's Wrong" - The Cynics 10. "Lucifer Sam" - Pink Floyd 11. "Suicidal Flowers" - Crystal Chandelier 12. "7 and 7 Is" - Love 13. "How Does It Feel" - The Creation/The Godfathers 14. "Feathered Fish" - The Verge 15. "Gypsy Woman" - Allusions 16. "No Good Woman" - The Tree 17. "I Need You" - The Kinks/GONN 18. "Rowed Out" - The Eyes 19. "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" - The Seeds 20. "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?" - The Ramones

- Encore -

21. "Crazy Horses" - The Osmonds 22. "Search and Destroy" - The Stooges

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.