Black Market Flowers – at The Middle East Cafe – Review

Black Market Flowers

at The Middle East Cafe
by Scott Hefflon
photo by Dan Bento

Their release came in quite some time ago. I thought it was nice, but didn’t rock the jaded world. It sat around and I played it while doing dishes, stuffing envelopes, and other drudgework. It had that bass-heavy dirge and trippy groove that grows on you like moss. And that it did. It grew on that unobserved, shadowed side that escapes notice until you lean against it and get all moist and slippery. The tunes are like that, smooth and fluid. While still kinda grungy, throaty and thoughtful, it’s not laced with trendy urban angst or introspective, melodramatic heroin-pondering misery. It’s plodding yet fun, and sways like a content drunk. It took a while to realize, “Hey, I really dig every song on this 11-14 (?) song CD.” You can’t really separate it into radio hit singles and artsy filler. Each song has elements of both written right into it. Catchy hooks and clever turns of phrase as well as meandering personal stuff that either drags on and on or just wanders off into a fade out. Song 14 is splashing about in a pool and having cannonball competitions. I wish I could think of a witty one liner to “sum up” B.M.F., but I just can’t write “an alluring juxtaposition of dreamy elements and abrasive guitar power” and keep a straight face. Snicker.

When B.M.F played the WAAF gig at the Middle East, these three guys just got up there and jammed. While visually they were not much to write home about, their sound and timing were note-perfect to their monster of a CD. All that production credit mumbo jumbo might as well be Greek but for the fact that the “power trio” had a fat sound that carried from CD to stage. Truthfully, they were goofy-looking and had a goofy humor with which they communicated amongst themselves and with the audience. Quibbling about song order and “Na-na”ing after screw ups made the show personable and a lot of fun.

“Hey! Hey! Hey! This is the first song on our first album,” announced the coming of “Fixin'” like a K-Mart special. (The chorus of “Twe-e-enty thousand, twe-e-enty thousand” used to tumbleweed about my melon like “Psst! You’ve got a garage full of magazines, ya dork!” Luckily we print 30,000 now and those pesky voices will have to unearth another sparkling gem with which to taunt me.) B.M.F.’s stoner humor was honest and gave the songs a credibility you might give a respected mechanic. Surprisingly, even the slower tunes, with long and winding instrumental breaks weren’t tiresome or oh-woe-is-me melancholy floundering. They held tight in a moody groove and produced a gentle, trippy sway throughout the audience.