We walk into The Garage during the tail end of a Buddy Holly cover a couple of songs into Crushed Out’s first set of the night. There’s an awkward ring of unoccupied space on the dance floor directly in front of the stage where I decide to plant myself.
Crushed Out are a humble blues/surf/garage rock duo from New York, and their new album, Want To Give, pays homage to the pioneers of American Delta Blues and Rock n’ Roll. Crushed Out’s old soul really shows in their musical style and vintage gear. Singer and guitar player Frank Hoier is playing a vintage Supro Dual Tone guitar through a vintage Silvertone head and 15” bass speaker––which really brings out the low end and dirty blues sound of that Supro Dual Tone. Drummer, Moselle Spiller, reminds me of a more talented and versatile Meg White, switching out different percussive instruments throughout the night and beating the shit out of her drum kit while also filling in backup vocals. Between songs, Hoier says, “Moselle is my favorite member of Crushed Out.” Hoier strums a couple chords and I instantly recognize the beginning of “Me and the Devil Blues” by Robert Johnson and I’m totally stoked, standing alone in the center of the dance floor, balancing a notepad and a very appropriate glass o’ whiskey––I am a huge Robert Johnson fan and this is the first live cover I’ve ever seen.
Hoier introduces another song off their new album, “Black & Purple,” a song written about Hoier’s mother, listening to Masters of Reality by Black Sabbath, and her brother coming in and breaking the album in half. When Hoier heard this story, he asked his mother what album it was, and she replied, “The black and purple one.” The background information Hoier gives about each song shows the respect they hold for their audience and their desire for those few hours as performer and audience sharing space together to be as intimate as possible. Before they take a short break between sets, Hoier switches to another rad, vintage guitar, an acoustic Marwin and plays “Lovers & Dollars,” an incredibly blues-heavy slide-guitar song originally released on the album Lovers & Dollars in 2008 with Hoier’s previous band, Frank Hoier and the Weber Brothers.
I approach the duo to quiz them about their ancient gear, and they give me a little background on their band––that after moving from Southern California and New Hampshire, respectively, to New York, they met each other at their apartment complex and eventually started playing music together. They are incredibly down-to-earth people to talk to and are excited and grateful to be touring and promoting, and offer me a promotional copy of their awesome new album, which I gracefully accept.
I resume my position as the platform-heel wearing, sore thumb in the middle of the dance floor as they start their second set of the night with a song off their new album, “Firelight,” a slower, sweet, surf song with a steady, driving beat. Spiller and Hoier smile at each other after a very well executed guitar solo. They then go into, “Shake Can Well,” the lyrics comprised of directions from a WD-40 can, carried by a heavy Southern rock sound reminiscent of Creedence Clearwater Revival. I order another drink from a really nice and attentive bartender, and my sister points out what has to be an unintentional William Murderface doppelgänger. At the exact moment I look over, Murderface looks at me and I laugh directly in his face. It’s an uncanny resemblance.
It’s 11:30 and it’s starting to feel like they are getting ready to wrap up their double set, but not before they play an awesome cover of “Give Me Back My Wig” by Hound Dog Taylor, Hoier supplementing bass notes to get an even grittier blues sound. Crushed Out are full of energy and conjure the spirits of some of the quintessential Blues and Rock n’ Roll musicians that have paved the way for talented musicians like themselves, and they fucking rocked The Garage. I’m afraid my ears may never stop ringing.