Here’s how to slam the accelerator down on the end of 2013 and rev right into the new year:
Foxy Shazam, Sunday night, at the Mainstreet Bar and Grill in East Toledo. The eminently entertaining and combustible Cincinnati band puts on a live show that is equal parts tongue-in-cheek, good-time glam, and dead-serious, knock-you-on-your-butt rock and roll fury.
Its show here at the defunct Mickey Finn’s two summers ago was a sweaty blast of energy and unfettered, noisy fun. Expect more of the same this weekend as the band prepares for a busy 2014.
Eric Nally, Foxy’s frontman — think of a ballsy Freddie Mercury — said the five-person band holds two cities on a higher pedestal than anyplace else: Cincy and Toledo.
“I always get nervous in Cincinnati, and to be honest in Toledo, too,” Nally said. “As you know I have family there. Anytime I have family or friends in the audience it’s always extra nerve wracking, but also extra special and cool. It’s an interesting experience as an artist because of all the shows we play around the world I always feel the same way about them all except Cincinnati and Toledo.”
His parents are Marcy and Dan Nally, both of whom were raised in Maumee. Eric Nally lived in the area when he was a young boy until they moved to Cincinnati. He has a number of cousins and aunts and uncles who still live in the area.
Foxy is 9 years old and for about five years has seemed to be poised on the verge of mainstream success while being stuck touring in vans and plugging away in clubs or opening for larger, more well-known acts such as The Darkness. Why a group of relative dullards such as Kings of Leon or wonked-out My Morning Jacket are household names in what passes for alternative rock while Foxy has to keep reaching for the ring is a bit of a mystery.
Its 2012 album, “The Church of Rock and Roll” was a blustery blast that covered a huge swath of stylistic ground from radio-ready power pop to Queenish pomp and Led Zeppelin/vintage Bowie buzz-saw guitar rock.
Live, keyboard player Sky White looks like a crazed psychedelic shaman as he leans out into the audience. Trumpet player Alex Nauth, guitarist Loren Turner, and bass player Daisy thrash and treat the stage like their own personal mosh pit. Nally is the master of ceremonies, hurling himself around, telling surreal stories, eating lit cigarettes, and of course singing.
The concerts are a direct result of experience, Nally said.
“As entertainers we feel at home,” he said. “I feel like when I go on stage I feel like I know what to do. There’s no uncertainty and I never feel like holding anything back and I feel like anything I could possibly say is right, so I don’t even have to think about it.”
There is a brutality to their performances that is both impressive and slightly unhinged.
“We are living breathing callouses” at the beginning of a tour, he said.
“After the first day we can’t even move. It’s horrible. And then a couple of days in it’s like our bodies get used to it and we can’t feel pain anymore and that’s basically how it has to be for us to do what we do. It’s extremely physical and really that point in the marathon when you’re running and your body is telling you to stop and your mind wants you to keep going.”
While a release date hasn’t been established and much of the details are being kept under wraps, Foxy has recorded a new album that will come out in 2014. Nally said it was recorded with engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Guided By Voices) in Chicago and it is far more intimate and personal than the band’s other four releases.
Rather than record it digitally the way most music is now produced, it was recorded using analog and tape, creating a much warmer, more nuanced sound, he said. The band also is no longer on the IRS label, where their last album was released, something that doesn’t faze Nally.
“The recording industry as we know it is crashing and burning and becoming something that no one knows what it is anymore, but at the same time it’s exciting because it’s like the wild, wild west. Things are becoming irrelevant, especially major labels,” he said.
Nally, who is married and the father of two children, ages 7 and 11, has never hesitated to mention his kids or directly address his family life, both in song and on stage. “Forever Together,” a hyper-catchy and beautiful ballad from “The Church of Rock and Roll” tackles the issue of being on the road and away from family and he said much of the new CD addresses similarly straight-forward emotional issues.
“There’s no trickery or crazy smoke and mirrors, it’s all right there. As an artist that’s like showing someone a naked picture of yourself, but that’s kind of a characteristic of the record,” he said. “I’m so proud of it.”
Foxy fans can get a sneak preview of the band at 4 p.m. Sunday at the new Friendly Beaver Records, 136 Main St., where they will do a free acoustic in-store performance. The new and used music, games, and movies store opens Friday and is operated by Broc Curry, who formerly operated Shakin’ Street Records on Adams Street. Main Street Bar and Grill is at 141 Main St. Tickets for the Sunday concert are $15 in advance through Ticketmaster or $17 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m. and opening bands are The Silent Lions and Jeremy and the Harlequins.
Contact Rod Lockwood at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6159.