Words by Gabriela Kerson
Danjaboots :: 05.11 :: RANA :: 05.12 :: The Knitting Factory :: New York, NY
Scott Metzger spent five years pounding the streets of Manhattan at various venues checking out his peers and idols and out on the road with several projects, particularly his childhood band RANA.
Scott Metzger By Earl Gardner
In March, when LA-based Particle announced their new line-up, Metzger was on board. RANA followers were not pleased, and although some of his songs have been incorporated into the Particle line-up, they might be deemed a little too serious for is trance party-band fans.
As Particle's spring tour drew to a close, a little free time opened up for Metzger. In the two weeks between Jazz Fest and the Knitball in LA, Metzger began the first of many coast-hopping, hometown performances, kicking it off with old buddy Joe Russo of the Benevento/Russo Duo and their light-hearted band, Danjaboots.
Russo and Metzger are in a similar position. After years of working side jobs and making the musical rounds, their talents have finally been recognized. With Danjaboots, the pair have funneled their almost 20 years of road experience and study of human nature into compelling music.
The Knitting Factory on Leonard Street in downtown Manhattan was established in 1987, and its staying power makes it an accessible home to all kinds of experimental bands. On Thursday, May 11th, with spring just entering the city, the crowd was really small and really excited.
Scott Metzger & Joe Russo By Eric Mohl
"These are songs about drinking, fighting, and fucking," announced Metzger in worn jeans and a t-shirt, holding his acoustic guitar and launching into a song about "The redneck girl of my dreams." Russo's kit was set back in the corner, and the grin on his face lit up the stage as he pounded out the country-rock rhythms.
The show was a sweet mix of familiar covers and highly personal, catchy, intelligent originals. Fans were well versed on new material such as "Gonna Burn For This." The fourth song was "A Little More Food, A Little Less Cocaine," his latest. Talking about the kind of girl we all know, "She'll hang out till everything's been talked about, and half of it's been talked about twice. I swear when she's sober, she's a sweetheart, but when the blow runs out that woman ain't so nice."
They played Dylan's "The Man in Me," and the plaintive yearning was palpable; these men appreciate that kind of woman. Ryan "Tugboat" Thornton (RANA, Sam Champion) joined them to sing "Sad Songs." With two excellent drummers onstage, it was odd to see Thornton not hidden behind a kit, but he presented himself well. As he left, Metzger switched to a cherry red electric guitar and Russo cracked a beer. The opening notes of "Go Home Hippy" garnered some cheers. They ripped through it, fast and hard, and at the end a voice from the audience called out, "You should play that one with Particle." Danjaboots finished with two covers, Ween's "Piss Up a Rope" and Supagroup's "Rock and Roll Tried to Ruin My Life."
Danjaboots By Richard Clarke
Saturday night was a different vibe back at the Knit with an older crowd. It was the first RANA show since the end of 2005, and fans were out in full-force. Formed over a decade ago by four friends from Jersey, RANA survived high school and college with the bandmates spread out at four different universities.
There were many reasons for RANA to celebrate. Not only was their guitarist back in town, but it was also keyboardist Matt Durant's birthday. With Andrew Southern on bass and Thornton on drums, the foursome was complete and ready to rock.
RANA :: 05.12 :: By Bill Warner
They began the evening with "Replacements" and by the third song, "Stuck up a Tree," the band hit their groove. Durant played to the audience, laughing and joking with fans. Metzger stood center stage for most of the evening, Southern's leading bass lines filled the whole room and Thornton pounded away happily on the drums.
Durant introduced a new song, "When Sam Champion Owned the Bowery." "Nice title," cracked Sam Champion's bassist Jack Dolgen from the crowd. Metzger took the vocals on "Do You Ever Feel Ashamed," kicking it off with a complicated guitar line while Durant danced and played the keys. Dan Piper joined in on lap steel during "I'm Not Orfeo" and stayed through "Charm Bracelet," "The Day She Went Away," a snappy rendition of "Baby's in a Bad Way," "Just Another Song," and the surprise entrance of Antibalas horns Collin Stetson, Stuart Bogie, and Jordan McLean on "Minka Malinka." They played "Loves it Automatic," and with the heavy horn section, there was a strong Talking Heads vibe. After "My One Dear Son," Durant instructed the crowd to touch the person next to them. He introduced "Bloodshed," but the horns moved instead into a short "Happy Birthday."
Scott Metzger By Josh Miller
Towards the end of the show, Metzger commented, "Our friends are in New York City. What we need you to do is motivate for once in your lives and follow us around." This statement was met by a cacophony of joy and a definite feeling that if they had the dates, they would have the fan-based caravan.
Metzger has been popping up all over the country, playing hours and days of instrumental experimentation, meeting his idols, and exchanging riffs. His rock sound, which is rooted in RANA's matter-of-fact, take-no-prisoners approach, could be the missing ingredient necessary to take Particle's experimental dance groove to the next level. One thing's for sure - Metzger's music is all about love, conflict, and straight rock & roll.
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