Nashville Scene 11/10/05

Drums "R" Us

Take two drummers, add a banjo and a tall brunette on tambourine and you have Huntsville, Ala.'s The Counter Clockwise. Playing to a sparse but energetic crowd last Wednesday night at the Radio Cafe, the unorthodox quartet somehow made us feel that every band with only one drummer was missing out. Well, maybe that's a little extreme, but the CCW's loud, fast White Stripes-meets-Woody Guthrie-meets-Drumline sound was irresistible. Especially those drummers-kits practically intertwined, they smiled and exchanged looks, sometimes playing in unison with deafening synchronicity, at other times creating a multilayered rhythm that made up for the otherwise spare instrumentation. Lead singer Matt Bakula, with his James Franco-esque pallor and straightforward punk rock bark, threw himself into every song.

New London, Conn.'s The Can Kickers followed. With barely a breath between songs, the trio ran through a set of punky bluegrass. It was a night of standout drummers- we couldn't decide whether Can Kickers drummer Doug Schaefer's frenzy was more seizure or demonic possession. (Then he pulled out the washboard, and all bets were off.) The Can Kickers are about as high-energy as it gets, and by the end of their set they had drawn some listeners out of their chairs to the front of the stage. They closed with the traditional ditty "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?," drenching it in lightning-quick banjo, fiddle and drums. We were tapping our feet until earl-aye in the morning.