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Rick Rude + Kiss Concert - "Split" | Album Review

by Eric Gagne (@thething_nh)

If you have a played a show on the seacoast of NH in the past couple of years, no doubt Ryan Harrison had something to do with it. This dude is an unassuming wizard of enthusiasm, and he has a gigantic appetite for song and spirit, without ever seeming gluttonous. This is the modern day punk equivalent to being a dignitary. Besides replying to emails like a boss, running Salty Speakers, working a job, maintaining relationships, and booking multiple shows a week, Ryan also drums in Black Norse, as well as Rick Rude, part of our focus today.

Both Rick Rude and Kiss Concert play a wild sloppy punk rock; part Screeching Weasel, part Alice Cooper, with each group featuring a variety of unique idiosyncrasies that branch off into separate identities from there. Songs barrel through a survey of indie and classic rock and roll, and the way the split is constructed, you are hearing the bands staggered, rather than actually split into two sections, which makes for a cool listen, where you keep going back to the track list to see who you’re hearing. There were a number of times where I would have bet it was one, and then it was the other. It’s a testament to the friendliness of this scene; a suspension of ego. Fuck it, let’s just put all the songs in there together, who cares if someone gets confused? We’re all part of the band of life. Or something. Seriously though, I don’t mean that sarcastically. These folks rock a heavy and sincere openness, and that is reflected in the music you hear, and they’ve just extended it into the listening experience.

This album is available on a cassette via Salty Speakers and Cat Dead Details Later, which means it will go in the queue in my garage. My garage is an important place, as garages often are. It’s where my tape deck lives, as well as my collection of tapes. I shoveled all winter to old Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden concerts recorded off the radio in my elderly neighbor’s livingroom, as well as Bad History Month and Pile. It’s also where I go to get loose after a long day. Looking forward to tinkering in there to this one, cleaning, hatching schemes, and going back and forth to try to figure out who I’m listening to. I can see these groups setting up their trashy gear in this garage and calling forth the mighty sound that only truth and love can wrest. I have long believed that intention is paramount, and technicality merely secondary. I know a lot of the people in these bands, and they are all good players, but the aesthetic is clearly more focused on vibe than precision, which ultimately gives it a gigantic heart. The volume is the stethoscope, and all you have to do is turn it up and listen.