Big Trouble Little Munich
With Love Handles, Xela Zaid, the Dewars, Mike Harvey
Little Munich, Lake Worth
Friday, May 28, 2010
One of the most intriguing and peculiar local music nights is hiding in plain sight in downtown Lake Worth. Put on by John Sova's Damaged Disco on the last Friday of each month with myriad confusing flyers to promote it, a loose assortment of area bands populates Little Munich, a German restaurant and pub a block and a half from Propaganda, AKA the venue where most of the night's entertainment plays on the regular. Once the kitchen finished serving
sauerbraten and wienerschnitzel for the night, the front corner of the
establishment became the stage. The taps and hospitality from the staff stayed flowing, though.
A few scenic details: The place was difficult to photograph because the lighting is intended for dining ambiance, the restrooms are labeled "Rogues" and "Wenches," and the movie of the night was the David Bowie-Jennifer Connelly classic Labyrinth on the big-screen
(but not flat-screen) television above the bar. A mix of folks who looked like Little Munich regulars and hip locals, who are mainly in the bands or close friends, milled around alternately near the stage and at tables out in front of the restaurant. Aside from the collaborative, community attitude threading the evening's performances together, a pair of yellow maracas served as torches passed from act to act.
For the bar regulars, the most inviting portion of the evening had to be a set of covers performed by twin brothers Anthony (wearing a loud patterned shirt that could have come from anyone's grandmother's closet) and Zachary Dewar, a formidable pair who normally draw from a well-stocked stable of original material when they formally perform as the Dewars. Hearing loose run-throughs of Leonard Cohen's
"Suzanne," the theme from Disney's Robin Hood penned by Roger Miller, the Talking
Heads' "Heaven," country western standard "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend," and a couple of well-worn classics ("Dream a Little Dream" and "Seasons in the Sun") offered a peek behind the curtain at their Everglades-fried folk influences.
Mike Harvey -- no relation to the marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey or the local band using the moniker -- turned in a fantastic solo set backed by the Dewars. With only occasional
interruptions from an unruly drunk demanding AC/DC, his run of scrappy, beautiful melodies will be a lot harder to hear locally because he's imminently moving to Sarasota. "AC/DC wouldn't break a string," Harvey quipped as he
switched from an acoustic to a Gibson
SG electric, which is actually the same model Angus Young
uses. Harvey, who could be Tom Cruise's younger brother if he didn't sing so well,
later beat the hell out of his voice on a cover of Wilco's
Even more striking than Dewar's gaudy shirt was the pair of silver loafers on noise-pop experimenter Xela Zaid. Although he kinda
sounds like John Lennon on record, Zaid spent most of his time drenching the room in reverb with a harmonica, a
vintage microphone, some Mexican radio samples, a bass, a guitar, and an
impressive collection of effects pedals. Love Handles, the duo of Chris Jankow and Jordan Pettingill, who
also play with Cop
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City/Chill Pillars, finished off the night with a ramshackle set that rumbled through several of their two-minute garage bombs. Guy Harvey singer Adam
Perry and Jameses
frontman Dan McHugh joined the band for a final punk scrum.
Not long after, the crowd shuffled outside. Just as unceremonious as Big Trouble's start, the outdoor lights were extinguished on a night that encompassed the best aspects of a house show, an open-mic night, a bar-band extravaganza, and a VIP meet-and-greet. Auf wiedersehen!