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The Blue & Gray Press | November 18, 2017

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Alex Culbreth, The Vermilions, and The Milkstains Played a Killer Set at the Underground

By ZACH JOHNSON

The thing about local music is that, unless you’ve really taken time to scope out the band that’s coming to campus, you have to make a leap of faith to even just show up. That’s not just in Fredricksburg, but anywhere, and that feeling is only intensified if you’re a freshman, and it’s the first real weekend of school. The August 28th show in the Underground was well worth a look though.

Alex Culbreth began the night, playing Dylan-esque folk songs with a tinge of Velvet Underground flavor. There were a couple of rough patches when the tempo slowed down a bit, but Culbreth ended on a high note, with “I’m Going to Nashville” and a self-proclaimed “Train Song” that brought the energy back up just in time for the Milkstains to take the stage.

The duo, with John Sizemore on guitar and Raphael Katchinoff on drums, recalled the Dead Kennedy’s punk/surf stylings, as well as some grungy aspects borrowed from bands like Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. The drums were superb, and Sizemore’s guitar more than compensates for the lack of a bass player. My only issue with their upbeat performance was the vocals – it was very difficult to make out any of the words.

However, the energy and artistry of the Milkstains was plain to see and tons of fun. The closing act in the lineup last Saturday was the Vermillions, a garage-rock trio that pulls equally from the rockabilly of Chuck Berry and the punk attitude of The Stooges. Jeremy Flax’s quirky voice and excellent guitar work is perfectly placed in order to let bass player David Miller really demonstrate his chops.

[Photo courtesy of David Hu]