Gringo Star was once a bitchin’ little band called A Fir-Ju Well. For reasons unknown, the quartet of long-haired rockers from Atlanta changed its name. Luckily for us, the band also stepped up the standard touring schedule. Through word-of-mouth, boisterous live performances and constant touring, the group has built a solid, devoted following. True to its name, Gringo Star evoke Sgt. Pepper’s-era Beatles, with swirling psychedelics, haphazard harmonizing and pop-perfect jangly bits. Sure, most rock bands reference the Beatles, but Gringo Star does it better — and in a much, much dirtier fashion. Live, the band also matches its trippy, carnival-like vibe with a rowdy stage show, full of disorderly, cacophonous instrument-bashing and heart-crushingly somber interludes.
A Fir-Ju Well was a horrible band name. What did it mean? How was it spelled? How did you even pronounce it? Well, forget it, because A Fir-Ju Well has recently changed its name to the equally confusing (but easily spelled) Gringo Star (www.myspace.com/thegringostars). These Atlanta boys make frequent stops in our section of the Big Muddy, and those who have seen them play haven’t forgotten them: The mop-headed rockers draw a bigger crowd every time they hit town. Gringo Star describe their sound as “big beat psychedelic Southern rock & roll,” and their deep, trippy style has indeed drawn favorable comparisons to the Flaming Lips and the Beatles — but their thick sound and liberal use of the cowbell pushes them far into the rock & roll category.