Left to right – Courtney, Mike, and Jayke

Did you ever hear a song that you love, but you just can’t listen to it because you don’t like the artist? For me… That’s Kickstart my Heart from Motley Crue. A badass tune from a band that I don’t care for.

Of course… there are also bands that I adore, with songs that I despise… Like Crazy, Crazy Nights from Kiss! Where’s that throw-up emoji when I need it?

It’s a lot more difficult for me to fall in love with music. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician myself? I always thought that made me more forgiving of bands… but now I see that it makes me more cynical.

I don’t just want a catchy tune… I want the band to be cool too, I want their sound to be awesome, and I need them to be among the 8% of people on the planet, who don’t deserve a flaming bag of shit thrown at their front door.

Maybe you’re surprised that great people can be found in disguise and in unusual places? So if you judge a book by it’s cover, then you’re on the wrong website and you probably won’t ever find yourself at a Goddamn Gallows show either.

But if you’re like me…

You hate having popularity jammed down your throat. You prefer to stumble upon it when you least expect it, and sure enough, that’s how it went for me with the Goddamn Gallows. A beautiful thing when I least expected it.

I first saw them when they toured with the Koffin Kats in Philly… And while I don’t remember most of that night, a few days later, I saw them again at Roxy and Dukes in Jersey. On this particular night, The Koffin Kats wrapped up first, so I was on my way out the door… But as I was leaving, the Goddamn Gallows came on and played “Down With the Ship” off their new album ‘”The Trial”.

I turned around, gave them my full attention… And the hook was set.

Courtney – Bass and Vocals
Uriah – Drums and Vocals

I will forever describe that tune as Oscar the Grouch singing a nursery rhyme, and I loved it! So when I got home, I bought all of their albums.

Their genre was all over the place. One minute I thought that I was listening to John Denver, and the next minute I thought that I was listening to Necrophiliac from Slayer… The line between those two was a complete blur.

Mike – Lead Guitar and Vocals

Over the next few weeks, I struggled to make sense of it all and to find my “comfy zone” within their very large catalog… Finally, it was time to put their music to the test. And my two-step authentication process… Never fails!

Step One; clean my house with your music on shuffle. If I don’t have to hit skip… Then you’re in.

The Goddamn Gallows passed this test with flying colors… Scoring extra points because I was inspired to grab a beer and hit repeat a few times.

Step Two is a bit tougher; it requires me to shake your hand. That’s not so easy when a band is touring all over the world, 320 days a year. So when I heard that the GDG were coming to the Stanhope House in Stanhope New Jersey, I got ready to do some driving.

2.5 hours to be exact.

I arrived at 3:30 in the afternoon, and at 3:30 on show night, a band is always in a state of flux… They don’t know whether they want rest, alcohol, food, or action, and in my experience, the choices that you make early in the day have a lot to do with how your night will end. So, I opted to stay away from them until show time.

The bands manager Mike and I went for lunch, which consisted of my pre-show ritual… a juicy steak and frozen margaritas! After that, we headed back to chill at the merch table while we waited for the show.

As the evening unfolded, the rest of the band crept out from wherever they had been lurking… Each resembling a vampire whom was unexpectedly awoken from a 100 year slumber, but each just as cool as the ice cream man.

I was instantly confident that I didn’t waste a two and a half hour trip on a bunch of nut-sacks.

I’m high-strung and OCD, so I envy people that can just roll along, and the GDG roll better than most bands that I’ve seen. Relaxed, calm, and enjoying the evening… Not running around like primadonnas who were out of Aquanet.

I got to spend some time with Courtney (the bass player) and Uriah (the drummer) before the show. Both were down-to-Earth guys that I’d have gladly driven 3 hours to hang out with, even if they weren’t playing any music.

I barely got to see Mike and Jayke before the show. However… They’re rockstars, so you need to give them their space if you expect to juice them for a killer performance… At least that’s what they told me.

And that they did deliver!

The band hits the stage, and unless you’ve ever seen them before, you can’t possibly be prepared for what’s about to unfold.

Even if you were lucky enough to guess how it was gonna go, it’d be some place else long before you ever had a chance to brag about it.

Their cross-genre attack immediately explodes in your face, leaving you intrigued, captivated, and hot on the heels of toe tapping. And just when you think that you have them pinned down, the wind kicks up and the tide has changed.

Stand there long enough, and you’ll likely be inclined to start throwing bodies around the room.

To say that they’re diverse would be an epic understatement, to think that it can’t be done would be a rookie mistake… Whatever they do, they do well, and you’re well aware of the fact that they wrote the book on it all.

The audience was at full attention at all times, and it was clear to me that no amount of sweat, beer, or volume emanating from the stage could keep them at bay for very long. It wasn’t just a big crowd… It was a good crowd too.

A tough, rockabilly, punk gang on the outside, but decent humans on the inside… And that’s just how we like em’. Good people.

The Maker

The absolute last thing that a busy, adrenaline fueled stage needs is an idiot crawling around with a camera, but whenever an idiot is needed… I’m on it! The band let me creep around and get some good photo’s and video… and I made it out alive, so next time, I’ll bring better camera’s, cigars, and a bottle of bourbon.

I got to hear “Down with the Ship”, “Load your Guns”, and a cover of Venom’s “In League With Satan”… Which oddly enough is the first song that I ever learned on bass guitar about 35 years ago.

I couldn’t have been happier with the band and their performance.

The show was awesome, the talent was amazing, and when I started worrying that it all would be over too soon, it was clear to me that the GDG had also passed Step Two with flying colors.

If they were playing there every night this week, I wouldn’t have missed a single show.

To me, the Goddamn Gallows represent the little remaining great about America… You can be who you want to be, go where you want to go, and do what you want to do. Some of us choose to plant our ass on the couch and fritter our life away, others carve their path through the world, fully embracing everything that life has to offer.

The Goddamn Gallows have done this, and they’ve earned my praise and support.

They may represent the American dream… But behind the scenes, the dream requires incredible sacrifice. Life on the road, away from family, pets, comfort, and the security of a home, isn’t for the faint of heart.

When you consider that they’re doing it for you… How can it not inspire you to show up with a big appetite for a good time?

Take it from me… If you do, you will.

Go to their website, sign up, follow them on social media, and get out to see their show. You won’t regret it.

And… It’s a scientific fact that seeing a Goddamn Gallows show will dramatically improve your street cred… So it’s likely that you’ll walk out of there being up to 70% cooler than you’re telling everyone you are on facebook.

Promo poster

NOTE: Special thanks to Armya for making this come together, 11th hour style. If I wasn’t ordering from Ticketmaster, and paying who-knows-what for fees, I’m not comfortable… Brown Paper Tickets managed the ticket sales for this venue, which is cool for some… besides, I thought to myself, there’s no way this show is going to sell out. It did.

We both contacted the venue… Armya was successful; I wasn’t… explaining one of the M’s in SCTMMC stands for Music, which we wholeheartedly support on our website. He spoke with owner Andreas Kleinert who reserved two tickets for us at the door, in the name of journalism… Scroti style… which begs the question… Why wasn’t I forwarded a Press Pass?

Located at 251 W. Fifth Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, The Shrunken Head offers live music, open mic nights, and may be extremely easy to locate, in the day time. Not so much, at night. My friend and I were having problems finding it, but deduced the venue was located behind the fleet of vans and trailers parked in front of the establishment, belonging to none other than the groups we were here to see… screw GPS, Siri! We’ll find our own way!

Goddamn Gallows skateboard

The first person I introduced myself to was Nick Magoteaux, SH’s sound engineer. Super nice guy, and after reading the reviews, seeing and listening to his efforts both before the show and during, my hat is off to him… Nick didn’t disappoint, both helping the bands manage their sound, setup and teardown… solid effort, Nick!

I also met Mike ‘Snappi’, the manager of the GD Gallows, who just so happened to be working the merchandise displays.

Spidey and Snappi
Biram merch

Urban Pioneers merch

… again, super nice! I asked how he knew Jimmy Jam, and he whispered in my ear, “It goes back to our old cow tippin’ days.” That’s when I left, to go get a beer.

Having not paid our entry fee yet, I inquired of the bartender how they collect. She said well before show time, they corral everyone back out of the bar, and then process tickets from a list, probably printable through Brown Paper Tickets. Sure enough, our names were written in, at the end of the list, just like Andreas and Armya had worked out.

Pre-show crowd

Stage, audience view
Used gear for sale, anyone?

A couple of tall PBR’s and we were ready to be entertained, and indeed we were…

First up, The Urban Pioneers.

Martin, Jared and Liz

The group consisted of Jared McGovern on banjo/guitar, Liz Sloan on fiddle, and Martin Sargent on double bass. What a great opening act! Their feel good performance consisted of original songs that encompass old time hillbilly music, western swing, rockabilly, and even a few gypsy type songs for good measure. Jared may have been the front man, but all three contributed vocally, and very well, at that. Whether playing banjo or guitar, Jared fast paced strumming carried the band through their well-timed set… even broke a string midway through, never missing a beat to finish out the song. No drums, mind you… in between booming bass notes, Martin was also playing a percussive slap on his double bass. Made me wonder how long it takes to pick this technique up to be proficient? I’m thinking he’s been playing a while. I saved the best for last, though… Ms. Sloan was a spitfire on fiddle. My goodness, could she play! Very expressively, too… great job guys!

The Urban Pioneers
Martin Sargent, on DB
Martin, Jared, Spidey and Liz

Next up, Scott Biram…

Scott Biram

… jam master, one-man band extraordinaire! His setup consisted of about 3 Gibson acoustics and a couple of electrics, including an Explorer… and, were they well worn. From the way he played, these instruments were not faux relic’d, at all. A beat driven stomp provided the vehicle for most songs, with the audience joining in, as well. Definitely, a Texas blues influence in his playing, and at one point in the show the glass slide made an appearance… phenomenal.

Biram, jamming out

Our headliner for tonight, which you have heard our fearless leader highlight one or two times, here and there, was none other than the GD Gallows!

The Goddamn Gallows

I caught up with the bassist, early on, and asked if I could get a pic with him for our website… super cool guy, too!

… and, this is what I got in return… I wonder if he knows where my nose has been.

After replacing a noisy instrument cord, they commenced bringing it. My buddy and I…

Spidey and T’Challa

… only stayed for about 3 of their songs, as it was almost midnight, and I had a pumpkin carriage to return, before getting charged another day’s rental. The Gallows did not disappoint! Musically tight, with a great overall sound, their genre is hard to nail down. If you kegged a mix of rockabilly, punk, and metal, with a smidgen of bluegrass thrown in for good measure, from the tap you would get a healthy dose of the Gallows. At one point, the lead singer/guitarist morphed into what I considered a real life animation, straight out of ‘The Mask’, speaking in tongues between verses, which fired up the audience even more.

Rounding out their sound, the rhythm section consisted of a 3-piece drum set, a thunderous double bass, and a rock solid second guitarist who doubled, sometimes tripled up instrumentally, providing support with mandolin, banjo, and possibly a flugelhorn.

GDG bassist

Overall, a great night to spend with some outstanding musicians! Much thanks to Andreas, Snappi, The Urban Pioneers, Scott Biram, and The GD Gallows, as well as our own Armya for making this all possible. I highly suggest if the entourage stops at a town near you, it’s well worth the trip to see them live.

Love and Peace,