|The Night Marchers|
It's the holiday season and John Reis is in the giving mood, so rather than performing only as part of the headlining act Sunday at Alex's Bar in Long Beach with his group Hot Snakes, the guitarist is also opening the show with his band the Night Marchers. This doubling-up might not sound like such a big deal, but the matinee marks just the second time in his career - which includes stints in Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, the Sultans and Pitchfork - when he'll have played in two bands on the same stage. Reis isn't concerned about tiring during Hot Snakes' set and says he's looking forward to performing back-to-back.
"Most shows that you enjoyed playing," Reis says, "you kind of don't want it to end. We usually play for an hour, so there are 23 other hours in the day when we're driving or hanging around on our butts. The whole day is about this one hour when you get to do something cool."
Visually speaking, there isn't much difference between Hot Snakes and the Night Marchers. Reis plays guitar in Hot Snakes with singer/guitarist Rick Froberg, bassist Gar Wood and drummers Jason Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba, and sings and plays guitar in the Night Marchers with Wood (who switches to guitar), Kourkounis and bassist Tommy Kitsos. Sonically, however, Hot Snakes favor primitive, bashing rhythms and down-strummed cacophony while the Night Marchers deploy a straight-ahead, barf-it-out brand of rock'n'roll that would please both Bo Diddley and the Real Kids.
These overlapping lineups suggest a lack of downtime between sets, which be problematic for Kourkounis based on the way Hot Snakes' set lists are written. The drummer plays on the band's first two records - Automatic Midnight and Suicide Invoice - but Rubalcaba is featured on the group's final album, Audit in Progress. Since reuniting last year, Hot Snakes shows have included both drummers playing the songs they recorded. Recent Hot Snakes sets begin with material from Automatic Midnight and continue with songs from Suicide Invoice before Rubalacaba takes over. Considering the Night Marchers play for approximately an hour, Kourkounis could be on stage for 120 minutes.