The Henry Clay People @ Crescent Ballroom
This year, bands like Japandroids and JEFF the Brotherhood have offered varied flavors of back-to-basics rock, all of them commendable in their unselfconscious energy. But it comes at a time where some baldly question the relevance of the stadium rock ethos. Frenzied power-chord jammers The Henry Clay People, hailing from L.A., are aware of this fact: They know the cruise ship is sinking but aren't about to leave the buffet line. Singer Joey Siara likes to push his high-pitched voice to the hilt, slinging angsty kiss-offs and two-sided Malkmus-isms. His snarled shouts rarely hit the final resolution note, doing a flared bend at the end of every vocal phrase as if it pains him to admit the losses. Still, the songs are full of anthemic group-call choruses. "Every band that we every loved / is selling out or breaking up / but we learned to drink for free," he yelps on the super-charged "EveryBandWeEver Loved," effectively summing up the diminishing returns of following your idols' path. I'll throw in one more genre tag for the 2012 revival stew: resignation rock. The Henry Clay People know that something's been lost, that manic guitar-driven heroism no longer rules the school. Despite the decline, their commitment to giving it another exuberant spin is what makes their raucous stomping so infectious.
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