I happened to be in Boston with a night to myself a few weeks back when Bass Drum of Death was playing some Boston College dive bar right on the subway line. Their GB City happens to be one of the best records of last year. Things never line up like that, so when it does you have to act on it, even if all you have is conference clothes in your carry-on.
Bass Drum of Death started a few years ago as a north Mississippi rock-savant project of Josh Barrett, crafting a one-man, methed-out speed-up of the Troggs’ teenage hormone bliss on a laptop, and the results shot sparks in the air.
But when they expanded to a duo (and live, a trio featuring second guitar basically doubling the other in a manner similar to how Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals are multi-tracked to give them power) on GB City, a product of the seemingly unstoppable Fat Possum hit factory, some garage-rock transcendence happened.
The garage door opened and this scrappy group magically could do everything: blistering mosh-pit shakedowns to bottom-of-the-well lovesick ballads to hypnotic sheets of noise. Are they the finest band around? Debatable, their deal is still pretty stripped bare, but they managed to make a sweaty room full of New England coeds shake it like they weren’t really supposed to be in the place, and when they made their sole address to the crowd—“Hi, we’re from Mississippi”—the whole room was right there, down home with them.
Bass Drum of Death plays One Eyed Jacks on Friday, July 13. DZ Deathrays and KG Accidental open. Doors at 9 p.m. Cover is $10.