Minutes before 7 p.m. last night, Salvador Dali Parton – a supergroup of sorts assembled by Mumford & Sons‘ Winston Marshall, featuring members of the Vaccines, Old Crow Medicine Show, JEFF the Brotherhood and Apache Relay – played its first show at The High Watt in Nashville. And just after 1 a.m. this morning, Salvador Dali Parton disbanded on stage, across town at East Nashville’s FooBar, ending a debauched six-hour career that included six performances at five Music City clubs and one suburban house party. “A debacle, a glorious debacle,” Old Crow’s Gil Landry, who played guitar in the band, said during a hurried smoke break after gig one.
As if the band name wasn’t a dead giveaway, Salvador Dali Parton was intended as a one-off (or rather, six-off) joke. The band, which featured Marshall and Landry on guitar, Nashville folk rockers’ the Apache Relay’s Mike Harris on bass and JEFF the Brotherhood guitarist Jake Orrall on drums, was fronted by Vaccines’ singer Justin Hayward-Young. “I’ve toured with pretty much all of [these guys], I’ve never played in a band with them,” Hayward-Young told Rolling Stone during one of the night’s frenzied, D.I.Y.-style load-outs. “I don’t know when it all began, but this is the end.”
The supergroup wrote the six songs in its 20-minute set on Thursday and held its one and only full-band rehearsal on Friday. “[We’ll] let the music do the talking,” Marshall, clutching a half-consumed bottle of whiskey, told Rolling Stone with a chuckle before the second show. “We don’t have any [song titles],” Orrall said, and he wasn’t kidding. Nevertheless, the band recorded (most of) last night’s performances, with the intention of compiling the best moments on a live album for future release.
SPD’s songs sounded like a (predictably) sloppy, sludge-y early Black Sabbath ground down into Dadaist shambles. Or, in the case of one menacing, psychedelic power-rocker, something like Spinal Tap’s taking on Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The set closed with a blast-beat-boasting, D.C.-style hardcore song that inspired a brief, 30 seconds of slam dancing from the crowd at The High Watt. “I’m glad we drove three hours for that,” one fan was heard saying to his friends while leaving the first show.
But Mumford & Sons diehards – which appeared to be many in attendance – hoping to see a surprise hiatus-ender, or perhaps something just a little more heart-on-sleeve instead got a heavy of dose of doom metal and stoner rock set to lyrics like “I want to suck and fuck you black and blue” and “she’s checking her iPhone / me, I’m playing my Xbox,” which Hayward Young crooned – complete with death stares, dramatically interpretive hand gestures and stoic foreboding – while garbed like Friar Tuck in a hooded monk robe. The rest of the band also joined in the Halloween holiday spirit, with Marshall and Orrall dragged out in white gowns (the former with a bobbed, platinum-blonde wig), Harris sporting Gene Simmons KISS makeup and Landry rocking Orthodox rabbinical attire. Regrettably, no one dressed up as either Salvador Dali or Dolly Parton, who did not attend any of the supergroup’s six Nashville gigs.
During the second performance of band’s one woozy-voiced country number, Marshall jokingly kissed and slow danced with a male fan he pulled onstage at Exit/In, the second stop on the Music City mini-tour. “He peaked too early!” Hayward-Young later quipped outside the club. At the fourth show – Nashville’s notoriously seedy dive, The Springwater Supper Club – Marshall played nearly an entire song while being crowd-surfed mere inches from the drop-ceiling’s mildewy acoustical tiles.
It’s not the first time Marshall has pulled these kinds of shenanigans in Nashville. Last year, the son of a Mumford tapped Landry, Harris and members of Matthew and the Atlas to form the Anal Beatles, a similarly jocular hardcore punk outfit that lasted one tiny, drunken club show. Though Salvador Dali Parton did indeed play a house party at Nashville power-punkers Diarrhea Planet’s crash pad last night, a rumored seventh show at Jack White’s Third Man Records turned out to be a hoax.