In the previous two years that the Shitty Barn had been presenting shows I’d only made it to one, a Friday night show with Southeast Engine. This was not my fault, most of their shows are on Wednesdays, and Wednesday is my volleyball night. The Pirates were taking this summer off, so I was now free to attend all the Shitty Barn shows I could possibly want. Owner Chris Staples looked surprised to see me again so soon. “You aren’t going to be able to get rid of me this summer,” I told him. And while that wasn’t exactly true, I am looking forward to taking in several shows before the fall session starts.
The Shitty Barn does a good job of mixing up their schedule between local and touring bands. Last week’s show featured Arizona’s Walter Salas-Humara along with Milwaukee’s Wooldridge Brothers. This week it was two Madison bands, the nearly decade old Czarbles and the relatively young Control. The line-up makes sense; the former is a ridiculously tight instrumental trio who focus on precision rhythms while the latter hopes to be there someday. No, just kidding. Control is also a well-oiled machine, c’mon, with a name like that they kind of have to be, but they are looser with the occasional vocal (though not much for lyrics) courtesy of eternally happy drummer Luke Bassuener or charming bassist Matt Rajala. They also made for a good match since neither plays very long (with music that intense I don’t know how you could) and I was home more than an hour earlier than the week before.
I enjoy watching both of these bands, but neither is one that I would listen to without the visual. It’s a good thing Staples isn’t one of those people. Last year when All Tiny Creatures played, Czarbles bassist Matt Skemp handed him a CD from his other band, explaining “not many people like this.” Staples must have taken that as a challenge because he fell in love with it, and here we were tonight. Unlike the other shows I’d been to out here in Spring Green, which is an hour plus from my house, I actually knew a lot of the other concert-goers, many of whom are also in local bands. It was good to see them spreading the love on a stormy night. With rain falling outside, there wasn’t a fire outside, but there just might have been one inside.