By: Joseph Golfen
Better Then: Most alt-country bands. Keeping with true country tradition by soaking their love-sick tunes in plenty of whiskey, this talented songwriter doesn’t let the genre pull her down with tired clichés.
The stage at Modified Arts never looked as roomy as it did when Aubrey Debauchery stood upon it holding her bright, orange Gretch and smiling. The diminutive singer-songwriter played before a nice-sized crowd flanked by her shiny, new band The Puke Boots and belting out country-twinged tales of sex, whiskey, lost love and more sex.
With a driving blend of country and punk, influenced by everyone from Elvis to Skid Row, Aubrey and the Puke Boots delivered a blazing performance. Their music had the usually stiff crowd at Modified Arts nodding their heads and tapping their feet. Rolling drums, stinging lap-steel and a pounding double bass exploded behind her as Aubrey let loose her sordid tales of drunken nights gone wrong and occasionally gone right. Yet every time the music stopped she giggled and nervously chattered into the microphone. Aubrey may have looked innocent in the pink lights of the stage but some of her lyrics are enough to make a cowboy blush.
Aubrey constructs her particular brand of cowboy rock by sitting down with a few chords and thinking about what’s on her mind, she said.
“Usually it’s like ‘fuck you’ or about the last fling I had,” says Aubrey with a laugh. “And I’m really not a slut. Out of the four albums that I have, the songs are really only about four different people.”
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When not relaying one of her tales of love and loss vocally, she would dance away from the microphone and raise the neck of her big hollow-bodied guitar as a queue for her band to release a country hell-storm. And when she stepped back up to the mix amid this thunderous sound, she’d croon sweet enough to either put a tear in your eye or mean enough to spit in it depending on what she thought you might deserve.
While this is Aubrey’s sixth tour, it’s the first she’s done with a band, and she says the experience has been very positive.
“I’m pretty over doing the whole singer-songwriter thing because I’m a really nervous person,” she said. “I’m all too aware of how people are perceiving it, but with the band I don’t really have to care ‘cause if people are talking we’re too loud for me to hear them talk.”
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Aubrey and her fellow Puke Boots wrapped up after a 12 song set and let local country rockers Via Maris take the stage. While the crowd thinned a little, singer Chad Sundin and his crew delivered a solid performance of compelling original songs, many from their upcoming album; the name of which Sundin is determined to keep secret until the album’s launch.
Keeping in the country vein, Via Maris was a bit more Appalachian then Old West, inviting listener to sit down and relax as they sang what Sundin described as an “old family ballad” before their final curtain. Like Aubrey Debauchery, Via Maris sounded best when they’d loosen up and rock out a little filling the tiny venue with a joyfully raucous noise.
Personal Bias: While trucker hats should be made illegal and avoided in almost all cases, they can still make an appearance at any show where someone in the band is wearing cowboy boots.
Random Detail: Both groups featured a stand-up bass, a lap-steel guitar and guys in plaid western shirts playing them.