UPBEAT AND DARK: Dirty Fences performs at Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern

New York City is known for producing some of the grittiest, hard-rocking and hard-working artists, musicians and bands. Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern is getting pretty damn good about putting them in front of Wilmington audiences. One of their first lineups of 2018 will feature NYC’s Dirty Fences, along with Zodiac Panthers and Helichopter, on January 9.

FENCE MENDERS: The Dirty Fences will be shipping into Reggie’s on Jan. 9. Photo by Justin Aversano
FENCE MENDERS: The Dirty Fences will be shipping into Reggie’s on Jan. 9. Photo by Justin Aversano

They’re currently touring in support of their latest album, “Goodbye Love” (October 2017), which is their third following 2013’s “Too High To Kross” and 2015’s “Full Tramp.” While this latest project was released via Greenway Records, it was recorded in Jersey City with Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile Recordings. There, the band cultivates a few distinctive differences between this and previous works.

Dave and company breathe a great deal of energetic riffs, drums and garage-pop rock tones throughout “Goodbye Love.” Starting with “All You Need is a Number” to their “Teen Angel” single, it’s a virtual rock ‘n’ roll dance party up until the night comes to an end with a slow number,  “One More Step” (featuring Sheer Mag’s Christina Halladay).

“Everyone will definitely be getting down at the [Reggie’s] show,” Jack Daves (vocals, guitar) assures. “We bring the oomph, but the wild Reggie’s regulars always do, too!”

“A lot of songs on the record have an upbeat feel and poppy sensibility,” he says. “That being said, it’s lyrically one of the darker records we’ve made.”

In fact, the title track isn’t really such in a traditional sense. Rather, the name “Goodbye Love” acts more as a reminder that there’s a lot of pain and love lost on the album as a whole.

“Like the Everly Brothers said, ‘Bye, bye, love/bye, bye, happiness/hello, loneliness/I think I’m gonna cry,’” Daves muses.

Dirty Fences’ sound is indicative of their collective influences, reminiscent of The Ramones to The MC5. Most songwriting comes from Daves and bassist Max Comaskey, but the process inevitably becomes a group effort.

“Usually one band member brings a pretty solid idea, with lyrics and melody already completed,” Daves details, “and the rest of the band fleshes out the structure and arrangement.”

Fans at Reggie’s will likely hear most new tracks off of “Goodbye Love”—available on limited-edition splatter vinyl and cassettes, in addition to CDs and digital copies. Daves gets a kick watching crowds react to new material, noting that the loudest, fastest “shit-kickingest” songs never fail to get the crowd moving.

“They dance just the same and even pretend to sing along to words they don’t know!” he says with a laugh. “Our set these days is a pretty balanced mix of songs from all of our albums, EPs and 7-inches, with an emphasis on the newest stuff. We play fast with few breaks to pack it all in.”

While “One More Step” is a song to pump the brakes, so to speak, with an almost R&B duet with Halladay, it also was a chance to revisit soundscapes more prevalent in the beginning stages of Dirty Fences’ sound.

“It was a blast to record a slower tempo track like this,” Daves says. “We explored this kind of material a lot in our early days,  but not much was recorded. It was really fun to get back to it.”

While Dirty Fences is heading into 2018 strong already with “Goodbye Love,” they’re also filming a music video “One More Step,” as well as planning more 7-inch releases. “We are hoping to put out a live album this year,” Daves adds.

Folks can catch the Dirty Fences at Reggie’s with “glitter-gutter rock” of North Carolina’s Zodiac Panthers an Wilmington’s own punk-rockers, Helichopter.

Dirty Fences
Featuring Zodiac Panthers and Helichopter
Tues., Jan. 9, 9 p.m.
Reggies 42nd Street Tavern
1415 S. 42nd St.
Cover: $7
Facebook event page

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