BY DAN NAILEN
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
The stereotypes of rock 'n' roll life make it seem so dreamy: fast cars, beautiful women, all manner of illicit material at your disposal day and night.
People who believe those stereotypes have never seen a band arrive in Salt Lake City for a Sunday night club show, only to find the fans scarce and not particularly rabid.
Such was the case for Eyes Adrift Sunday at Liquid Joe's. The power-trio of alt-rock all-stars -- Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and Bud Gaugh of Sublime -- arrived to play songs from their new self-titled album and found the club half full, maybe.
Resigned to that fact, the band set about trying to amuse themselves. Novoselic was climbing the barricade in front of the stage before the first song ended. He and Kirkwood tied together the proceedings with running commentary on subjects like the evils of television-viewing, or by making up bogus names for the band.
"Hi, we're called Eternal Armageddon, and we're from Machu Picchu, Peru," Novoselic announced at one point.
Musically, Eyes Adrift was rock-solid from the get-go, starting the set with the heavy bass throb of "Telescope," followed by the poppy, Puppets-esque "Alaska" and the mellow twang of "Sleight of Hand," which featured Kirkwood delivering two of his patented whistling solos along the way.
Despite Novoselic's towering presence and Gaugh's creative drumming, Kirkwood holds the audience's attention the most in this band, partly because he sings the majority of the songs, but mainly because he is a true guitar hero, switching from zip-gun solos to chiming, countrified licks on a dime. He is willing to steal riffs from any genre out there, and it makes him one of the more creative guitar players in the history of "punk." His lyrics are as surreal as ever: "I could cut myself and nothing would come out, because the blood is frozen solid in my veins" from "Solid" is one of his more straightforward lines.
Other highlights Sunday included "Untried" -- featuring a stunning Kirkwood solo on what may be one of his best songs ever -- "Blind Me" and "What I Said." A couple of songs sung by Novoselic worked well: the media-skewering "Inquiring Minds" and the freight-train rumble of "Dottie Dawn & Julie Jewell."