Photo by Aaron Sarlo.
Six-inch stage? PBR and PBR loyalists? The homey cocktail of smoke and mildew-infused wood? A canoe wrapped in Christmas lights? You're at White Water! And after all these years it's still a great place to see a live band. Shows there somehow stride that elusive line between watching your friend and witnessing a demi-god. You bask in the immediacy of the moment, up close and personal, and then, because of something inherent to White Water, you drink your beer, laugh with your friends and shrug it all off. And so it was last night.
It is a definite misnomer to call Sideshow Tramps
a 'sideshow,' though they do reasonably resemble tramps (the Depression-era kind). Scruffy and unkempt, the band proves that shiny packaging, more often than not, lies. These dudes make their own instruments (yes that is a cigar box and that other thing is a trash can) and then belt out what is best described as klezmery, jug-band, trash-grass with two fingers of Tom Waits poured on top. Drunken and gravelly yet melodious, worn and comfortable yet brilliantly brand-new, Sideshow Tramps' viscerally rocked the hizzy, and their full length record, Medicine Show, will perfectly season that indecisive jambalaya you call a playlist.