Two Pumpkins Show Up At Scratchie Party

James Iha lends a hand at Scratchie showcase. Photo by Matt Carmichael.

Addicted to Noise Chicago correspondent Matt Carmicheal reports: There was a buzz around the Metro, but that was the point. The Chicago indie-rock club was the setting for a showcase for Scratchie Records’ talent, so some hype was to be expected. Of course, when it comes to hype, it doesn’t hurt to be the label owned, in part, by D’arcy and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins.

The show was loose, played before about 1,000 fans. The Chainsaw Kittens led off the Scratchie bands (after the unsigned Kid Million opened) with a casual set, taking requests and making up the set list as they went along. Singer Tyson Meade, dressed in a shiny shirt that was just a little too small, got the audience going, along Matt Johnson, one of the most animated bassists ever. They were joined on their final number by James Iha, and Tyson took the chance to press the flesh with the young crowd. Eventually, at one fans request, he took the shirt off and threw it to her.

Fountains of Wayne were next. They have been getting lots of air play on MTV with "Radiation Vibe", and you could tell that the audience was getting to know "the radio song" pretty well. The mood in the crowd picked up as the singer kept reminding them not to mosh.

But when Fulflej came out the pit opened up, albeit a peaceful one with few crowd surfers. The Richmond Va.-based trio layed out an edgy funk which sounded much less Pumpkin-influenced than do their self-titled debut album and the single, "Work In This Universe." D'arcy came out to lend some vocals toward the end of their set, and was followed by Tyson and 2 unidentified flashers others who ran centerstage in their boxers, mooned the audience for a while, and took off. Fulflej's singer, M.C. No Joke G, never even blinked.

Scratchie is developing a solid lineup of bands, all of whom seem grateful for the chance to be on a label run by actual musicians who respect creative freedom. And let's face it: having D'arcy and James behind you doesn't hurt. Addicted to Noise spoke with several of the founders (D'arcy, Jeremy Freeman, Jamie Stewart and Adam Schlesinger) about the birth of Scratchie, and the label’s plans for "World Domination." Said Freeman, D'arcy and James' ear for good music is an invaluable contribution.

According to D'arcy, one of the things she and her colleagues look for is bands that aren't too insane and don't do too many insane things. In light of Tyson's "special appearance" during the Fulflej set, does that mean mooning a crowd isn’t too wacky? Does that mean that D’arcy might consider it? Without any hesitation, the typically-demure bassist said if the time and moment were right and she'd been working out for a year or so before hand, she'd think about it. Well.