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Heavy Trash - Spencer - Verta-Ray - creates something new

TT the Bears, Cambridge, Mass., June 14, 2005

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Taking a break from their higher profile groups, Jon Spencer is better known for his work with Jon Spencer's Blue Explosion. And Matt Verta-Ray does time with Speedball Baby.

But now the two New York City-based musicians are touring as Heavy Trash with an ace backing band from Toronto, country group The Sadies.

The sound, as evidenced in concert, is a heavier, rockabilly/psychobilly thing going on. Spencer, looking the role with his jet black hair and suit, takes the lead singing chores, and he does a good job with it. To get the desired effect, reverb sometimes was used. At times, however, his singing was a bit buried in the sound mix.

Heavy Trash mixed it up a bit musically on "This Day Is Mine" with harp playing courtesy of The Sadies. And the got into blues rock on the closer of the regular set, "Yeah Baby."

While the delivery was fine, Spencer did not rank very high on the charisma meter, saying little between song though he did seem satisfied with the performance.

The Sadies, who also played a set preceding Heavy Trash, are a capable backing band instrumentally as well as vocally. Not to mention increasing the energy level for the crowd of about 100 people. Spencer said afterwards their label, Yep Roc - the label for both The Sadies and Heavy Trash - introduced the two to each other.

One also could not accuse Heavy Trash for overstaying their welcome as they played for about 55 minutes including the encore, mainly songs from their self-titled CD out in April.

While not clear if this is a one off or will develop into something more permanent or long-term, it's interesting to see that Spencer and Verta-Ray are able to leave their past behind at least for a little while to create something new.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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