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Whale of a good time: Vulture Whale returns to the Plains

Don't let the colors fool you: Vulture Whale's Keelan Parish bleeds orange and blue.
Don't let the colors fool you: Vulture Whale's Keelan Parish (far right) bleeds orange and blue.

Come football season, 30-year-old Keelan Parish, bassist for Birmingham’s latest on-the-vergers Vulture Whale, sits in the dark corners of Magic City bars with the Auburn game on the little TV while most all the hipsters kneel at the foot of the Bama jumbotrons.

Houndstooth is the new scene cred up in Birmingham, or so it seems. Dirty South. Ironic appropriation. And of course the Tide’s the easiest when it comes to football. It was always thus.

Parish doesn’t let it bother him. He wears his orange. He wears his blue.

“Everybody knows where I stand on that,” Parish says. “That’s for certain.”

And when it comes to his music, Parish thinks back to where he was standing exactly 10 years ago today — back to the start of his junior year at Auburn, back to the 1999 LSU game — and draws a little strength from it.
Good rock ‘n’ roll is like that game. The Cigar Game. 41-7.

“There were like 20 of us that went and we were raising cain,” says Parish, “My friend had a license plate that said LSWHO — that was his license plate — and we took it into the game with us. We took it off the car and took it into the game with us and ESPN took a picture of us front and center standing there holding that thing after the game, three sheets to the wind … that was good times.”

Just like rock ‘n’ roll?

“Rock ‘n’ roll is easy to do,” he says, “you just got to have fun with it.”

And the reviews seem to indicate that folks — Jersey Beat, Blender, Brooklyn Vegan — have started taking note of exactly how much fun Vulture Whale has been having since forming nearly five years ago.

In addition to Parish (who cut his teeth on Auburn’s turn-of-the-century house show scene in bands like Virgil Otis and The Vice Roys), the quartet features Les Nuby of legendary Birmingham might-have-beens Verbena.

Vulture Whale is being given similar reception.

“… these Alabama club rats rock like Kings of Leon minus the ass-waggin,’” gushed Spin in a write-up — the first of two — on the band.

Sure, says Parish.

“Baby, we’re a first-string band,” he says. “We don’t play wimpy music and Godalmighty it’s a lot of fun to do and I think it shows.”

You can come have fun with Vulture Whale tonight at The Independent.

Who:Vulture Whale, Lamb Handler, and Kyle Tallman.

Where: The Independent, 203 Opelika Road.

When: Friday, September 18. Show starts at 9 p.m.

About Jeremy Henderson

Jeremy Henderson is the editor of The War Eagle Reader and co-host of Rich and Jeremy in the Mornings on Wings 94.3 FM in Auburn. Follow him on Twitter: @wareaglereader / @jerthoughts / @RichandJeremy

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