LIVE: Dent May’s “Wedding Reception Band On Acid” Comes To Alex’s Bar (6/24/2012)
By Alejandro Rubio on June 27, 2012
Alex's Bar (Long Beach, California)
June 24, 2012
Whenever somebody asks me if I smoke, I usually say “sometimes.” But every time I sometimes smoke, I sometimes end up chain-smoking a pack in a night. That's why several times a year for the last six years (around the same time I started answering the “do you smoke?” question with “sometimes”) I sometimes have to deal with that silent killer, laryngitis. I know, I know, laryngitis will not actually kill you, but it will make you want to kill yourself because what it does is leave you voiceless and consequently defenseless against meandering stories about long-distance relationships, cats on dialysis, sexts, the questionable accomplishments of grandchildren you'll never meet, as well as bring you face to face with the seemingly endless examples of the subjunctive tense, i.e. If I were to move to Seattle I'd [insert dream come true]. Without your voice, you realize that most of what you hear is simply crap. But every now and again the gods of sound throw you a bone and send you a deus ex full size van from a far away place, which in Sunday night's case was Oxford, Mississippi. I'm talking, of course, about Dent May.
Touring behind the release of his new album, Do Things, Dent May stopped into Long Beach's Alex's Bar to open the show for Quintron and Miss Pussycat. The small crowd had hardly turned their backs to the bar when May walked on, but as soon as the band played a few verses from “Howard,” people grabbed their drinks and started moving towards the stage. May bobbed up and down, strumming his guitar and bending his knees, while he and bassist Cole Furlow made "Howard"'s woes sound beautiful during the chorus. As the band moved through “Fun” and “That Feeling,” more and more people seemed to gather at the front of the stage, however, much of the crowd looked somewhat unimpressed as they stood and watched with their arms crossed. But when the band counted in their next song, “Eastover Wives,” the crowd's reticence was subdued as hips collided and ankles rolled to the undeniable upstroke of Alex Warrens' drums. Thomas Cooper's atmospheric effects hovered above the song as Furlow's indomitable bass and tender harmonies accented May's romantic baritone.
The too-cool-for-school crowd loosened up as the show continued, and even went apeshit when Cooper's bouncing keys signaled the start of May's new single, “Best Friend,” but it was a little too late because at the height of the crowd's excitement and involvement, the band ended the show with “Meet Me in the Garden.” Cooper poked his head in and out of the song while Furlow and May's endearing falsetto harmonies carried out the rest of the tune that capped off their set.
After the band gave their thanks and said their goodbyes, the crowd reconvened at the bar where you could hear people praising the band in little conversations as they realized that what they had just seen was not only, as May puts it, “a wedding reception band on acid,” but the unapologetically candid successors to the Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys─a difficult task for even the most seasoned of banquet hall performers. And although, in my hoarseness, I exchanged a few indecipherable words with May as he stood beside the cluttered merch table, I didn't get a chance to thank him and the rest of the band for saving my ears and making this round of laryngitis an exceptionally enjoyable experience.