9 p.m. Saturday
Blue Note Lounge
2408 N. Robinson Ave.
Springfield, Mo.'s Amsterband changed its name to Ha Ha Tonka when the act signed with the "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records. Ha Ha Tonka is also a state park in Missouri, which gives you an idea of what these rowdy lads are all about.
Like fellow Missourians The Bottle Rockets, Ha Ha Tonka writes from a small-town perspective about fundamentalism, nationalism, meth addiction, poverty and getting along with neighbors. The lyrics tend to be choppy and a little oblique. In fact, it might be kind of a drag if it weren't so much fun to listen to.
The first single, "St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor," is a roaring bit of social criticism with wall-to-wall guitars, setting the tone for the rest of the disc. Encased in the virtual grooves are echoes of Marah and The Replacements, but gilded with four-part harmonies.
Rural desperation rarely sounds this ragged and right.