Explaining the lineage of The Final Solutions could take days. The Memphis punk rock super group had their earliest incarnation over a decade ago while playing their first official gig in 2001. However, the sum of its part, up until now, has been greater than its whole. Fronted by Zac Ives, co-owner of the hippest record store in Memphis, Tn, with guitar and drums by two of the cities’ most over-the-top front men, Justice Naczycz of The Secret Service, and Jay Reatard of seminal punk band The Reatards respectively, and bass by Tommy Trouble, also known for his work with Chopper Girl and Memphis Babylon, the members have made names for themselves on their own. However, with the release of their latest album Songs for Solutions, the sum has multiplied exponentially.
On June 6th the band came together to celebrate the release of said record. As the band is easily one of the most entertaining live acts in the city, The Hitone was crowded with a mixed bag of local hipsters and punk royalty. Local writers from The Commercial Appeal and The Memphis Flyer hung out and joked with the band like they were all part of a special club. The interesting thing is, while if this were a show outside of Memphis, which the band rarely plays, the crowd might have been slightly miffed to see the band members standing in the crowd casually waiting for opening act The Barbaras to play. However, since it is Memphis – seeing Zac, Justice, Tommy and Jay is a pretty standard thing.
When The Barbaras took the stage wearing thongs while they played tight pop-punk ditties, it seemed strange that The Final Solutions would ask such an outlandish act to open for them. It’s not always a good idea to be upstaged by your openers. The Barbaras swigged beer and fed ice cream to the crowd as they won them over with their tight compositions. However, watching the Solutions watch with goofy grins on their faces made it clear that they booked the band so that they would be entertained as much as anyone else.
When the Final Solutions finally hit the stage, the crowd was tense with excitement. The usually mild-mannered Ives is an unintentionally charismatic performer, enveloping the audience into the performance instead of projecting one onto them. He is one of the cities’ most favorite musicians to photograph as was apparent by the number of photographers angling for a choice position in front of the stage.
The band kicked things off with “Tammy” from the new album, followed by “In a Coma,” ‘Path,” “Rubber Stamp Test,” and then fan favorite, ‘My Love is Disappointing.” Between each song drummer, Reatard egged on his fellow band mates with how bad their performance was. It is often hard to determine if Reatard’s antics are for show or if they are sincere. I’ve often expected one of the berated members to turn around and tackle Reatard, but they mostly seem to take it in stride. The rest of the set included Ives’, Naczycz’s, and Trouble’s frantic posing as they fired off “Brown Panther,” “Sex Head,” “I Am Now,” and the finale “Fuzz Pedal” all within 21 minutes. That’s right; the show lasted 21 minutes. No encore, no apologies, just punk rock.