Concert Review: Stonefox Reunites at Poor House Saturday, May 1

Photo by Ian Witlen
Stonefox: Let's break something together
With Alexander, Green Mantles and Astari Nite
The Poor House, Fort Lauderdale
Saturday, May 1, 2010

View a slideshow from the concert here.

What follows is an actual online chat, more or less, between New Times Broward-Palm Beach Music Editor Reed Fischer, and regular contributor and Mood Vane Editrix Courtney Hambright regarding Saturday evening's Stonefox performance.

New Times: So Courtney, I really enjoyed the three-piece relaunch of StoneFox. They seemed really prepared for the show. How did it compare to their farewell show in terms of the intensity level?

Courtney Hambright:
Interesting observation, Reed. I definitely got the same impression; it seemed like the Stonefox boys had put in a good deal of rehearsal time to get back up to speed after three months off. That being said, the pace, especially in the early part of the set, was much slower than the old Stonefox. The band's farewell show at 1921 in January was a constant forceful blast of their blues-heavy, dirty rock 'n' roll sound. I think that this show, song for song, was a lot more spacious. In the last few songs, we got a good solid dose of Stonefox's typical sound followed by their usual instrument-destroying antics and frontman Jordan damn near breaking his neck.

I dig. You told me after the show that there were a lot of new numbers mixed in. I recognized a handful of the songs, but it's exciting to think about a band that was considered dead to the local scene already coming back playing not only its old songs well, but adding so much to the reportoire. Loosely, how much new stuff figured in?

It's been a while since I've listened to either of Stonefox's albums, its first Dead in the Sun or its second Back on the Wire, which has nothing to do with their quality but rather, as anyone who's ever ridden in my car can attest, the sorry condition in which I keep my CD collection. But I would say that I heard at least two new songs at the show. I spoke with frontman Jordan Cruz after the show about it. He said that, yes, there was new material in the set, but that the band also played some of its old songs that they weren't playing very often at shows before they broke up. So, it was a mix, but I would say that at least half of the set was made up of material that you didn't hear too often at previous shows. So, it was a different experience. Hey Reed, is this a one-way Q&A?

Ask me anything, Courtney. I think that it's refreshing that they're doing new material and less-played stuff. Obviously everyone will compare the "old" with the "new" when there's a break, a lineup change, and some geographical factors at play. Just some visuals that stood out for me were: Jordan's striped pants, and Jeff Rose's pink shades (those got lost at some point, no?).

Jordan's striped pants were pretty bold, weren't they? I haven't seen those before. Maybe he picked them up during his time in New York. They were tight as all hell, which makes them Stonefox-appropriate gear though.

The look seems very important for them.

I think the look is important for the band. It's typical that each of them will have a standout style element, especially at the beginning of the night. Dave's huge fro is classic.

Yeah. I'm assuming that 'fro has been around for a while. So, realistically, we have to wait and see if this new configuration sticks -- if the fire is still there. I really hope so, because it makes for a story to accompany the music.

You see a lot of bands that try to put on an aesthetic that they can't pull off, but with Stonefox I think it's a little different. I get the impression their style comes from an excess of energy and excitement about what they're gonna do onstage. I think that they feed off of each other. You can tell when they play that they're synchronized on a deeper level than a lot of bands. There were no Craigslist ads in the formation process. You could sense a huge heartbreak at their final show and a great deal of joy to be reunited last night. In my opinion, they'll be together for a good long while.

Jordan asked me about my impressions of the show after... and I sorta turned the question on him. He placed his satisfaction-level between "fair" and "really great," which is a decent margin to work with. I would put it closer to "really good." I think the sort of "dirty retro blues glam rock" think that they do is tough, but they pull it off. If you aren't careful, you can end up sounding like Jet, and who the hell wants more of that?

Haha. You've been around the musical block more than most of us. We're isolated down here on the tip of a very long peninsula, so maybe we fall in love easily. You came into town in time to see the resurgence of a celebrated local band, but the hype about Stonefox has only been loud for about a year. I thought the audience was pretty kicking though. Chanting "Stonefox" and what not. I've never seen that from a SoFla audience at a local show. Don't know if you've seen that in your time here.

What a great setup for this question, Courtney! Who would be an great tour pairing for StoneFox? My votes would be one of those Jack White or Josh Homme bands. But maybe they could hit it with like a Brit-rock act too... hmmm.

I agree that Jack White would be a good pairing. I think that Stonefox could win some favor with a Black Keys audience. Locally, there are few things crazier than a Freakin Hott'-Stonefox bill.

Black Keys is a good call. Especially because they had NO opener last time they were here.

That's ridiculous! Did you go? I can't believe I didn't go. My wallet's still recovering from Christmas. I was going to say Dead Meadow, but I think it's too slow.

On a similar note, I know that some major labels have expressed interest, but Fat Possum would be a great home for a band like StoneFox. Such a great creative stable right now. That's where Black Keys were for their best albums.

That makes sense. I really do think they're ripe for that. It's not that I have any personal love for Stonefox over other local bands that makes me think they will ultimately get scooped up. It's that Jordan is such a freaking animal in the sense that he's constantly talking about the band and has this -- and I really don't mean this the way it sounds -- Kanye West-caliber confidence about it all, and Dave and Jeff are so competent and seem to be 100 percent on board. Plus, they're ballpark, 23 years old, which means they've got plenty of years for trial and error. Add that. What's the word count?

Oh, we've got plenty.

All right. It was fun. I like the immediacy. I've actually had my chat turned off for months so that people would stop writing me crap like "OMG, can you believe it's almost Friday?"

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