TVD Recommends: The Courtesans, Nunchucks, Cane & The Sticks, and Maple at the Black Cat, tomorrow, 3/16

By Tony Ferrari of The Courtesans

The CourtesansNunchucksCane & The Sticks, and Maple are playing the Black Cat tomorrow, Friday, March 16th.

It’s going to be a super-awesome action-packed night of rock and roll! I’ve asked the bands to pull back the curtain and give the world a peek at their songwriting process and their inspirations.

I’ll start things off.

The Courtesans – “Wide Awake”
This is my glimpse at Christmas future. I just got married, and the plan is to try to have a baby within the year, which I’ll admit scares the living hell out of me. Everything changes when you have a child to be responsible for. My mind is racing with questions. What kind of father will I be? And what will they become? What will they dream their future to be? There will come a day where I have to let them go and find their own way in life, just as my parents did with me. How will I deal when the day arrives?

Growing up in a little Mid-Western town, all I can remember wanting to do from the age of 13 was get the hell out. It took a few tries after graduating from high school, but I finally made it out. There is a line in the bridge that I stole from a song I wrote when I was 19 that captures how I felt, “It’s not what you’re running from, but where you’re running to.” Tony of Christmas Present added the next line, “It took me all this time to find that I was running to you.” And there I sat on the floor of the my future child’s bedroom crying, yes crying, singing the chorus, “You’re not the only one who dreams while they are wide awake, we’re just the same. I used to be little boy, I made the same mistakes.” I know the day is going to come when I embarrass the hell out my kids with this song.

Nunchucks – “The Time is Now”
“The Time is Now” is about a theme that many genres have touched upon and often. “The Time is Now” is, yet another, contribution to the topic. At the time, I was reading the Foundation Series of the godfather of Sci-Fi literature, Isaac Asimov. Lyrically, the song is pretty ridiculous and light-hearted and suggests that, as strong and advanced in technology as they might be, defeating the robots should be as easy as loading up a Super Soaker squirt gun and going to town on them. I’m sure Dr. Asimov would be disappointed in that assumption.

Be that as it may, I genuinely think machines will take over (or at least try to) and that, as many movies and books have suggested, an epic battle will ensue. Therefore, I wanted this song to be EPIC. I wanted the first half to just be a very happy fun pop song, but I wanted the last half to sound very anthemic, with a chanting gang vocal of “the time is now.” Our lead guitarist, John Bevans, wrote the perfect guitar solo to fill the second half of the song where the time signature cuts from 4/4 to 6/4 and transitions with a quiet bridge into John’s epic guitar solo. When we finally laid it town, I thought it was hilarious because the harmonizing chanting vocals sounded “Beach Boys,” and the epic guitar solo sounded very Brian May-esque, obviously with John’s own personal signature.

This song is a testament to our love for Classic Rock, melding a song that is poppy enough to sound like DEVO, transitioning into an epic Queen-like solo, and culminating in a Beach Boys-esque vocal harmony. As many songwriters probably are, I am critical of everything I write, but I am very proud of how we collectively wrote and executed my vision of this song. The time is now for you to listen to this song and witness the epicness thereof!

Cane & The Sticks – “Can’t See the Way”
It’s one of the first songs we worked on, and the title is taken from a revival show I saw as a kid. The crowd was chanting along with a preacher who was saying there was only one way to get to heaven. It got drowned out as a massive swarm of Hell’s Angels rumbled past.

Maple – “Don’t Fear the Hipster”
This song is like Vampire Weekend being senselessly throttled by Blue Oyster Cult. These are the sounds of a Coke*-fueled weekend in the studio: funky drums, garage guitars, and blues all over the place. The lyrics bespeak an inescapable irony for musicians; to hate the hipster is to be the hipster. Only by letting go of fear can one truly embrace the present and know the way of the force. This song is about the painful process of letting go of one’s conscious self and just rocking out. We relate. We agree. Maple is worth a listen.
*The caffeinated drink. Not the other thing.

And there you have it: tear-jerkers of Christmas future, Sci-Fi, Hell’s Angels, and hipsters. Rock and Roll!

Fri March 16th
The Courtesans, Nunchucks, Cane & The Sticks, and Maple
Black Cat Mainstage
1811 14th St NW DC
9pm doors – $10 – all ages
Tell a buddy, bring a friend

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