As usual folks, any time we have a show, we get behind on our blogging because it takes us time to recover from our wounds. The casualties this time round, for those keeping score, were my Maxon S&D pedal, my 50 watt Marshall head, our psychedelic oil light, a Sure58, and my toe which still smarts from a bad landing when I jumped off a stage. Oh yeah and I also came out of the mini-tour with a cold. This is the price of rock and roll.
The first show kicked off at Fitzgerald’s and before the show Steve and Clinton dropped by KPFT’s Radioactive with Phil and Rhonda. I was busy doing a bunch of stuff after having arrived from L.A. So I missed out but what I heard on the radio was pretty hilarious with Rhonda, Clinton, and Steve being pretty goofy as Phil played straight man.
The show itself was pretty awesome although sadly, there are some details that I can’t pass on but I will simply say that when thrown obstacles, we will find a way. First up was Hearts of Animals and I’ve seen Mlee a million times over the years, am a huge admirer of her work, and know every word to every song but even I was stunned at how amazing she sounded that night. I swear I’ve never heard her voice sound that good – she was hitting those notes in a way I hadn’t heard before and it was awesome. The crowd dug it too. The Houston Press called the crowd “polite” but that is really inaccurate as it makes them sound unengaged. A crowd won’t to go “apeshit” over this kind of music anymore than a crowd listening to say Yo Yo Ma would. It’s too introspective and personal for that so, I just had to counter that characterization as I felt it kind of misunderstood the interaction going on.
After, Mlee was From Beyond who were as fuuuuuucking loud as they were heavy! They had some awesome video shit going on behind them them and I loved the band putting up photos and live shots of themselves mixed in with the B movie footage. Really cool and the fog, dear god the fog!!!! We really love these guys and I’m bummed that Dick is moving because of school as I’d love to see the concept for this band evolve and grow but sadly, we will have to go to another parallel universe to witness that.
Coming from the opposite end of the band lifespan was Modfag which had an amazing lineup – J.R. Delgado (Party Owls, Sugar Shack), Shane Lauder (Sideshow Tramps), Jimmy Sanchez (Born Liars), and some guy from The Freakouts who had a whole gaggle of honeys lined up in front of him. These guys really were that band that drew a crowd that night. Not only was this one of the first shows for this band but this was J.R.’s first show since Sugar Shack which to us old punks is a big deal. If any band worked the crowd into a frenzy, it was them. Just high-energy garage rock hitting on all cylinders. As for our set. Well, that’s for others to judge. I can say that I was very happy with it and felt we all played well. Mlee joining in for “Rust” was pretty magical and even though it was hard to hear each other over, it felt like everything clicked beautifully.
Here is the Houston Press Review of the show:
The full set of images from Jason Smith:
Also thanks to Chris Gray at the Houston Press, Rhonda and Phil of KPFT, Jeremy Hart of Space City Rock, and David Cobb of Houston Calling for the kind help in getting the word out.
Dallas was a lot of fun. We rented a U-haul trailer and that made life a million times easier. Larry and I shared a ride and shot the shit most of the time. We got to the motel and got to rest up then headed to La Grange – the venue, not the town of ZZ Top fame (a-haw haw haw haw). I have to stop a minute and really compliment this club because they were just so crazy nice. The door woman, the sound guy, the bar staff, you name it. It’s really wonderful to drive to a city and find people who are good natured, flexible, helpful, enthusiastic, and just plain nice and La Grange fit that description to a “T” and I hope we return to there soon.
Hell, I have to say everyone we met in Dallas were pretty nice. The city gets a bad rap for being vacuous and over concerned with money and appearances (which may be true in some quarters) but the folks we met were all pretty real and laid back. I even met an old KRBE DJ from the 70s and we bitched about the lost art of the Radio DJ while he played Meatloaf in his vintage shop. Plus it was nice to see old faces like Evan Chronister who along with Kent was celebrating a birthday that night. As for the bands.
Openers FTW were pretty awesome and well errrm… manly. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen that much hair, tattoos and big-ass amps in a long long time. Oh yeah and they had a fog machine. The music was pretty cool – one riff stuck in my head all weekend – but the thing that made it was the singer. First of all the dude could sing. He did that whole Soundgarden thing and had the hair to match but what really made it work is the guy was so earnest – he was really going for it – and it was awesome. My favorite part was when he asked the crowd “Who wants FREEDOM?!!!” and the audience didn’t really know how to react because the dude was just so intense and everyone was just like, “Ummm yeah, I guess we’re OK with that.” Anyhow those dudes were awesome.
After them was this band called Big Sandy Gilmer. These dudes were super nice but it was one of those cases where someone does something very well but it’s not your bag. So while I could appreciate what they were doing in the abstract sense, it just wasn’t my kind of music. That said, they did rile the crowd up and got some heavy enthusiastic responses so they had a good night and that’s cool.
Our set went pretty well despite some issues on my end like my trusty S&D busting just as we were ready to start causing all kinds of delays as I tried to procure a replacement (I ended up using this awful MXR pedal of Clinton’s that sounded awful but beggars can’t be choosers) and my Marshall head falling silent in the middle of the last song. Still we played well, the crowd was receptive, and nobody died so I’ll call that a success.
Wo Fat played last and holy fuck they were even more amazing than the last time I saw them. The sound guy (Joe) did a great job and he even asked us to run our lights for Wo Fat because he thought they would look cool. We of course obliged and even offered them our fog machine. I told Kent to only hit the green button with his finger but I forgot to tell him not to use his foot and so of course he used his foot and the result was this insane cloud of fog that enveloped everything. I thought, “Man, Kent must really dig the fog.” Then out of the gloom you heard ‘SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE FOG MACHINE!!!!” and we realized that the for machine was out of control so Steve jumped on stage and disconnected it. It likely took about 15 minutes for the fog to clear enough where you could see the band again. So kind of a disaster but kind of awesome at the same time as there was something cool about hearing this heavy music as slowly, very slowly, the trio emerged from the fog. Oh and by the way, they were loud. Seriously loud. A few people even left the venue saying how they wanted to stay because they were so great but the volume was just too much for them. My suggestion for WoFat, take a queue from From Beyond, and sell ear plugs at your merch booth. Anyhow great night and a lot of fun and check out Wo Fat. They are one of Texas best Heavy Bands.
Again thank you to Audra Schroeder at the Dallas Observer for the kind mention of the show and helping get the word out.
Last on the list was Austin, TX. Austin has always been pretty good for us. SXSW, Cheer Up Charlies, and just a great place to visit with nice folks. This time we were slated to play a free afternoon show at Trailer Space – a crusty indie record store. The staff was nice and they had a dog named Linus which was cool but when we arrived I was a bit beat – partially from not enough sleep the night before but largely because I was beginning to come down with a cold. In fact, I think everyone was a bit beat, hungover, and worse for wear from the night before but I dutifully set up the films and it was nice to see some old friends. The downside is there was no air conditioning and it was over 100 inside the store and outside. So it was just this oppressive Texas summer heat bearing down on everybody. Despite that, ST37 played phenomenally and it was great to hear those songs again. It’d been to long since we’ve played with these guys and I can’t wait to do so again. My favorite thing that day was Bobby’s baby daughter wearing a Rusted Shut onesie. Needless to say, the stage banter that resulted from that was hilarious.
As for our set. I really don’t know. It was a struggle for me to play with an under-powered amp, sick, tired, and hot but I got through it. The rest of the band seemed to have fared better and so I guess they picked up my slack because, ya know, that’s how we roll.
Here are some Dallas and Austin pics we took: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ramon_lp4/sets/72157630291207114/with/7445018320/
Now it’s a week later and we’re done with the tour and I’m at the tail end of my cold. We’re taking a break and looking at what to do next. Right now it looks like more out of town shows, prepping for the official August album and video release (we should get the final date sometime this week), and writing new material. We’ll keep you up to date of course. Thanks for the support and sorry to all our friends outside of Texas who weren’t able to score a CD copy at these shows. The label will make these available soon enough. If you really really really want a copy now, send us an e-mail or something and we’ll see what we can work out.
Oh yeah, and here’s that pic of Bobby and his daughter. Yes, it is awesome!