There are three major ways to experience happiness: blowing a car horn inside a tunnel, playing any Wu Tang song that features Ol' Dirty Bastard and regretlessly embracing the inanities of pop punk on a sunny day. Just because the boys of TB and the GPs often hit the stage in sweat-stained booty shorts doesn't mean they aren't capable of telling emotional stories about hiding from cops, suburban/rural boredom and lack of self-confidence, because they are quite capable.
Initially, the lyrical imagery can come off as jokey, but the words reveal an angst-filled teenage world that many of us know well. "Orange," from last year's Summer of Our Discontent, is a capsule of the band's style. Vocalist Tim Blood shouts, "These are our favorite places to hang out: / Gas stations, grocery stores and all the diners / Where we can smoke cigarettes / And where we can drink hot chocolate / And where we can hide from our families / And where we can hide from the cops." These guys know hooks and choose to carefully dole them out like your miserly grandmother hands out individual pieces of hard candy. In two-minute bursts of guitar fuzz and jangle, the band energetically sums up young life. Isn't that what good pop music is supposed to do?
Tim Blood and the Gutpanthers play the VFW, 245 W. Main St., on Sat., Aug. 4, at 8 PM, with Art Fad, Clyde Webb, King Elephant, Gin Addicts and Monks on Fire. $3/$5 for those 18-21