Stacked local bill thrashes out with Lantern, Dong Johnson, Amanda X (photos, review)

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Johnny Brenda’s hosted an all local show Thursday featuring Lantern, Dong Johnson and Amanda X. Musically it ranged from proto-punk to dirty blues rock to hardcore and post-punk. But the energy was consistent throughout.

Lantern opened with “Out of Our Heads” from last year’s Dream Mine. Lead singer and guitarist Zachary Devereux Fairbrother asked “Is anybody out there?” with a throaty rebel yell and got an increasingly affirmative answer back from the crowd as their set continued. His and bassist Emily Robb joked mid-set how “Thursday is boss night.” (Apparently that’s who was out there in the crowd.) Lantern left the folk-leaning side of their catalogue at home in exchange for the bluesy stomp of “Evil Eye.” The seductive “King of the Jungle,” crawled and slithered through everyone’s ears. Fairbrother and Robb swapped instruments for a couple songs before slamming through Willie Dixon’s blues standard, “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” which led to the end of their show with plenty of fuzz-laden jamming. They were at their strongest, bending the hips of the ladies in the crowd and putting the guys in their power stances with fast three chord slammers and a generous fill of extended wah-pedal guitar soloing.

“We’re Dong Johnson and we don’t put out,” said lead vocalist Opal Rock as they started their set. Their name might sound crass and their brand of hardcore punk rock is not something that can be taken lightly. They’re intense, crunchy and cutting by way of single-note guitar riffs and slugging bass picking. “Is This What I Get,” from 2011’s Happy Birthday is influenced some arm-swinging and slam-dancing while Dong Johnson played on a red-lit stage set aflame.

Amanda X opened with “Down” from their release Ruin the Moment. Guitarist Cat Park (of Band Name fame) and bassist Kat Bean joked that they recently discovered a lot of men are into their post-punk sounds. Understandably so, since their relatively short songs feel so complete with rigid, yet catchy riffs. Despite looking a little uncomfortable on stage, they warmed up to the crowd as they advanced through each song. After all, they said, it was only the second stage they ever played on.

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