Jukebox Romantics, Commonwealth of American Natives, The Hand Me Downs and American Pinup at The Muse 3-12-11

by Dave Sharp on Mar 14th, 2011

Jukebox Romantics, Commonwealth of American Natives, The Hand Me Downs and American Pinup at the Muse 3-12-11

While the youth of middle Tennessee were largely on spring break and local punk rock fans flocked to the Basement to pre-order the new Those Darlins record and watch their only scheduled Nashville show before they head out on tour – the lowly punk rock dive known as the Muse housed one the most ferocious lineups of local and national ska/punk outfits of the year.

If I were to write an open letter to Nashville music lovers (“Dear entire population of Nashville”), I would tell them simply: I’m disappointed.  A group of hard-working, diverse and in-your-face bands played last night and you offered them a whopping 15 people to fill the dance floor.

But, I would likely sign the bottom of the letter, stare at briefly then crumple it up and throw it in the trash, because this community yields and supports such a fantastic array of musicians and there were understandable excuses – so the disappointment would be misplaced.  It was a pitiful sight at the Muse and I wish the snapshot of Nashville the Jukebox Romantics, American Pinups and The Hand Me downs had seen would have been more fitting of a music-loving town.

Hindsight’s 20/20 and from this perceptive, hours after the last band played, a great show went down and Sinizine.net recorded a fantastic interview with the Jukebox Romantics. That counts as #Winning.

Unfortunately, I missed the American Pinups, but we added a video below for you to experience.  They are label-mates on Altercation Records with Jukebox Romantics and were one of the two female-fronted bands on the bill.

Surprisingly, Detroit’s The Hand Me Downs played second ahead of local foursome Commonwealth of American Natives.  The Motor City should be proud of this emphatic group which blends loud, gutter-punk vibes with slick ska upstrokes, creating confusions between slamming things and dancing briskly.

I originally saw Commonwealth of American Natives when they played with Cobra Skulls, Old Man Markley and Stuck Lucky – and was really impressed with that first experience.  They took it a step further with my follow-up encounter with the band, straddling the line between abrasive growling anthems and thoughtful vocal harmonies.  Our good friend Drew Wilson had the band on his radio show “Loud Love” recently.  You can hear it here:

Jukebox Romantics closed the night and turned the energy up to eleven.  They played a ton of ska/punk originals, although their stage show is a pure punk rock exploration with a touch of upstroke guitar.  They pulled off something I’ve only seen one other band do with flying colors – they ended with a cover.  The other band was Heart when they covered “Love Reign O’er Me” (and killed with their vocals) and JR thrilled the thin crowd with a cover of the Bouncing Souls’ “Hopeless Romantic” switching out the chorus “I’m a hopeless romantic, You’re just hopeless” chorus with “I’m a Jukebox Romantic, You’re just Jukebox.” Awesome.

Please, Nashville, don’t miss there guys next time they come through and follow the Commonwealth’s tour dates here, so you don’t miss them either.

Reviewer: Dave Sharp

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