The Ghost Town split itself open for May’s First Friday to expose 7 of the bands that call this gallery home. Like some visible man anatomy model of my youth, the mysterious innards were slowly revealed.

Brain: I arrived to find long time resident, recording guru and Gris Gris mastermind Greg Ashley playing where the beer machine used to be. Sadly I missed the first few songs, but the ones I did hear were the highlight of the night. His latest lineup included upright piano, upright bass, and sax plus Ashley on guitar. The music is all instrumental and a bit jazzy. He plans to release these new recordings in the coming weeks, and I look forward to a complete live show ASAP, possibly at Cafe du Nord. Don’t get me wrong, I LUV the Ghost Town. There is a fantastic new wall of painted boxes behind the main stage that creates a skyscape of clouds with the occasional piano key. As expected the place was hella smoky and lacked adequate vocal amplification, but at the Ghost Town it’s part of the charm.

[audio:] Greg Ashley – Amnesia

[audio:] The Gris Gris – Mary #38 (Live)

Liver: Next up Mad Rivers. I think the 2 person band thing is getting a bit out of hand. They have some well written tunes, and there are flashes of Nirvana for those that dig that kind of thing. The guitarist alternates between a rich 12-string acoustic and a smooth 12-string electric. Maybe the liver needs some onions (perhaps bass or keys)?

Spleen: 3rd up, The Wolf opened with a barely recognizable cover of the Talking Head’s song “Heaven”. An excellent song to cover. The Wolf fared better on Wolf material. There were enough keyboards and guitar pedals for a Japanese pop band, but the songs were more Joy Division/80’s UK art school. There were some magic moments, but not enough to warrant the painfully long set up time.

Genitalia: 4th in line, a raunchy-good surprise. The Ghost Town bartender it seems, who had just served me a PBR, is Damon. His band, Damon and the Heathens, includes 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, sax and for the first time a violin that added a nice gypsy flare to a few tunes. Other songs had that funky New Orleans, Tom Waitsy, vaudeville vibe. Damon sang through a telephone much of the time (Japanther style), played organ, accordian and theremin during the raging set. He managed to suck down 1/2 a bottle of Barefoot Merlot simultaneously. The show was kicked up a notch when a lovely young lady climbed onto the trapeze hanging in front of the stage and twisted out some amazing moves.

Intestine: Numero Cinco, a sweet finish with Nectarine Pie. The only Ghost Town band with scheduled upcoming shows (July 9 at Amnesia and a very intriguing daytime BBQ show at El Rio July 31). They played a great song called “White Fuzz” that triggered flashbacks of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Nectarine Pie has a cheezy-delicious Farfisa organ and a dedicated chick on tambourine/maraca; every band should be so lucky. This crew seems to be re-living the 60s any way they can, somewhere deep in the bowels of the mysterious Gallery they call the Ghost Town.

Apologies to Architeuthis and Steel & Camoflauge, I had to hit the road at 2:30 a.m. . . .