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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, something Baloo.


So I got to step foot into The Mohawk (http://mohawkaustin.comfinally.  Talk about an intimate set up, DAMN! As you walk up to the entrance the outside stage is to your left and to enter the club is to your right. The outside area is pretty cool, allowing for quite a few people to enjoy some live music. Big stage, lots of area for bodies to hang in.


Inside is where we were at this evening! When you walk in the door you have a modest size lounge area. The bar is directly in front of you, bathrooms to your left. Directly behind the bar you can see the stage through a large pass through opening. If you walk around the bar to the right you enter the inside part of the venue. The stage is to the left with the sound booth on the wall that is Red River. Again - here is a modest spot that allows for a decent crowd to enjoy the festivities on stage.


Tonight was the triple threat of MC Overlord, Michael Dillard, and Derrick Davis. This will be brief, but informative as I have written about these bands many times previously. I also posted several pics on my FB page that told the story of how much fun it was too be there. Mariza Cruz snapped some pics showing the crowd getting crazy for Derrick Davis.





MC Overlord (http://www.overlordmusic.com) was the first up. Not necessarily playing new tracks, but definitely a new set list. This set just shows the big man is still the boss man! Probably one of the most electric personalities to see live in Austin. The man can move like you wouldn't believe and conducts the band like a Maestro! The stable of musicians and talent that perform onstage with Overlord is always revolving and ever impressive. For this reason alone it is always worth catching an MC Overlord performance.











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Michael Dillard (http://michaeldillardmusic.com). I have been digging on the sound, voice, and talent of Michael for quite a few years now. His voice is unique and awesome and the song writing skills are astounding. Tonight was special as Michael (along with long time lead guitarist Ty Read) and the band performed all new tracks. Exciting exciting stuff! I happily quote Ms. Cruz when she described the new songs, "He sounds older and the songs and music are more mature." Watching a friend grow up and grow into their own over a few years is wonderful. Sharing those experiences with you and telling you to go see him perform live is my happiness. 














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Ahhh Derrick Davis (https://www.facebook.com/DerrickDavisBand). The most wonderful thing about Derricks performance this evening was sharing it with Ms Cruz. After bragging about his show and music, she got to see for herself, and was not disappointed. Here is a musician that uses the whole stage. Derrick moves with his music and enjoys being onstage. His grooves are infectious, his personality is enticing, and his voice is eerily familiar, but all his own. The most wonderful thing I brag about is his rendition of the Jungle Book classic 'I wanna Be Like You'. It is a crowd pleaser and a floor packer. Whether you can dance or not, it is an amazing version of a song that allows you inner child to just let loose on the dance floor. I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy this soon.



























Laters
















Friday, May 9, 2014

say Uncle

Uncle Billy's Brew & Q (http://unclebillys.com/bs-landing/) on Barton Springs road, Austin, Texas. Located right there on restaurant row. 

I have been here for beer - EXCELLENT selection of craft beers. From local breweries and farther away. I don't know if they have your typical mass produced beer here, if that is what you want...go away.



I have been here for the food - Bar B Que. Good stuff. Good Texas BBQ. The prices were very reasonable and there is not some stupid line to wait in, to sit down and eat some good food. I have done a little bit of each flavor and found none of it to be lacking. So pick your all time fav. Be brave, ask your server for a beer recommendation and enjoy the beautiful Texas brew, Que, and Sun.



Now, I can say that I have been here for the music! The KUTX (https://livevibe.ticketbud.com/kutx) Sunday Funday music series. I will make no bones about stopping in for the performance of one of Ms. Cruz and my own all time favorites, The Roosevelts (http://wearetheroosevelts.com)!



We arrived early and settled into our seats just off center stage. The sun was bearing down and Ms Cruz looked lovely in her Derby hat. Unfortunately it didn't do shit for blocking the sun.  With a little bit of a sound check, you could tell the crowd here was ready for some great music from some great guys.








The Roosevelts ARE James Mason and Jason Kloes. From the humble beginnings of one of Austin's hottest party bands to the Americana glory they are now. The band has songs that pull your heart strings. They sing of love and love lost. The hope of love gained again, and sometimes whiskey too. It is music for the whole family. Gather around, gather your friends and listen to the stories that The Roosevelts weave with their guitars and the unmistakable voice of James Mason.


It was like that, this particular afternoon. The silence was only broken by the music and applause. It is definitely music that is difficult to define. What is not difficult is the great feelings you have at a performance by The Roosevelts. It is music that is full of emotion, proof in the emotional response from Ms. Cruz throughout their performance. It is provoking, unique, and completely familiar all at once.





Not only can these guys perform, but they are genuinely nice people. They love to take the time after a performance and thank those few or many who remain to that their talent.


I will happily go see these guys any and every time I can. I want you to do this as well. Something that you can say you felt good doing.










Laters

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Filter this

Out of the kindness and generosity of my friend Eric, I strolled into The Dirty Dog this fine evening to catch a favorite and maybe experience some new interesting sounds. BINGO! What a night it turned out to be.




The Dirty Dog (https://dirtydogbar.com/) on 6th st. not only happens to be one of my favorite little haunts to chill at, but one of my favorite places to catch any number of local and national shows. There are some TVs around to watch some sports. The bartenders are pretty damn interesting as well, so pull up a stool on a non-show night. The GM is about the most awesome, down to earth guy you could meet, just make sure you have on skates to keep up with him.  

I have described the place before. Awesome seats at the windows on the streetside that open up to let you take in the sights on 6th, or closed to keep all the badass music inside. For the adventurous type, there is a pole firmly planted in the first open area when you walk in. There is A Huge U shaped bar that allows for ample service to get you your beverage, NOW! The club then opens to another area where the stage sits facing the entrance. The back of the club and to the right of the stage is another bar that runs along the wall...and a lame ass attempt at a green room...LOL! - I'll get a dirty look for that comment next time I am in there.

This evening had a list of bands that represented from Austin, Houston, Round Rock, and of course the headliner from Cleveland. Here is the list of bands: Black Heart Saints, Resisting Vegas, Downfall 2012, Seek Irony, The Artillery, and Filter. This blog post is going to run the whole spectrum; The good, the bad ass, the shitty, and the "what the fuck where you thinking?".



Black Heart Saints (https://www.facebook.com/blackheartsaints), thanks to these guys, this is how I got in. My buddy Eric was working for them this evening and was filming their set. Now I don't know if they just threw down the gauntlet and put on a fucking hella good show and performance because of that, but I don't give a shit! Just fabulous! A charismatic lead singer that sings and performs as much as he performs as a front man on stage. Playing and performing as if they were in front of a crowd of thousands, Black Heart Saints were in the wrong spot this evening. Should've been at the top of the bill right before Filter. 





















The crowd of very few (I hate the opening slot for a band - especially when they turn out to be really good) enjoyed the energetic rock/metal that these guys did. The lead singer looked like a model from a muscle magazine cover, but sang like a champion (yeah! that's a nod to the forever vocals of Freddie Mercury). The lead guitarist was just as much a showman as well. I had a chance to speak with the bass player afterwards and was shocked to find out this was only their third performance live!


































Sheeeeeiiiittttt! I would happily take my girlfriend to a show of theirs and don't mind telling all of you to go as well. Good stuff coming from these guys here, as far as a live show.




Resisting Vegas (https://www.facebook.com/ResistingVegasOfficial) was up next. With female lead vocals running the show, this was a decidedly different sound than the rest of the bands this eve. The crowd was about the same as with the first band, still REALLY early in the evening. Not what I was expecting from the female front of a metal band. I can't say if it was nerves or what, but in my opinion she seemed to lack the 'kick you in the balls' confidence needed to front a metal outfit, dude or chick. As a whole the band was really good and seemed vaguely reminiscent of Evanescene. Don't know if that was the inspiration, but it was the feel. All an all a good performance to warm up for the headliner.












Downfall 2012 (https://www.facebook.com/DF2012) hails from Houston and HOLY SHIT! This was a show. A true punk 3 piece with a bassist, lead guitarist, drummer, Mohawks, and dreads. All 3 sharing the vocal duties and much more!




I had wandered to the opposite side of the venue after the previous band, but then Downfall 2012 started. With a big, huge, smile I made my way right back to the floor to catch this trio do there thing. With the bass player fiercely attacking the vocals just as hard as he was killing the bass, the guitarist trying to rip the stings off his guitar, and all the while the drummer just sat back there smiling and dropping some very heavy beats. They rolled through their set like a fire in the Black Cat. Playing originals and covers alike. Owning everything they did like a strong band should. If you didn't originally write "Baby Got Back" but you have the balls to play that at a metal show as a punk band, then own it you shall.











Then Downfall 2012 did this crazy shit that made me flash back to the high school drum line. They broke out the homemade, paint bucket, 55 gallon plastic bass drum set AND TORE SHIT UP! Synchronized and all. Could seriously be viewed as some kind of joke, but then if you are serious about what you are doing and do it well, then audience knows and has fun with you! Ending with the most bad- assery version of "Folsom Prison" I have ever heard. All they did was prove Mr. Cash was decades ahead of his time!


































Seek Irony (http://www.seekirony.com/en/index.php) is rooted in a pair of brothers that hail from Tel Aviv, Israel. This was yet another twist on the rock theme that was flowing like lava throughout the evening. Although they seemed to be the standard guitar, bass, drums, lead singer, 4 man set up, they were not. It became very evident, very quickly that they were something slightly more. With that technical, industrial sound, the digital sounds and synth coming from a computer somewhere on stage, this band launched into their set.





















Seek Irony seemed to have very deep and intelligent lyrics and the industrial part of their sound was very Static X (a great thing in my opinion). The crowd swelled and pushed forward at this point in the night. I savor the opportunity to check these guys out some more as the lead singer announced that they have recently relocated and made Austin their new home. Yay!

The Artillary (https://www.facebook.com/theartillery) was the last band up before the main event. With a full house, these guys launched into their set. I don't know if the crowd was really into these guys or just eager for Filter. The lead singer seemed like he was channeling Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon. I can't place their sound.

The depressing or aggravating thing is that these guys just didn't seem to get it. They were up on stage kinda acting like rock stars, but it was pretty bad. If I had my cordless mouse with me I would've strangled myself. I only had the thought of Filter coming up next to keep me from walking out. The vocal and antics of the lead singer is what brings me to say this. It was just bad enough overall where I am slamming the band as a whole, when I am unfairly doing this because I couldn't hear them over the sound of myself internally running my fingers on a chalkboard.



Filter (http://www.officialfilter.com/). Fucking rock star diva bullshit! I will get to that in a minute. To roaring excitement of a packed house on a Thursday night in downtown Austin, Texas on 6th St at The Dirty Dog, Filter mounted the stage. Kicking it off right with the hit song from the movie and soundtrack of SPAWN - Can't You Trip Like I do, Filter knocked everyone on their heels. They completely plowed through their set. Hitting their other big hit 'Take A Picture'.


After about 45 minutes on stage, Richard Patrick was attempting to play his guitar, with some technical difficulties. Nothing really drastic or massive, but after fiddling with his guitar and having the sound cut in and out a few times, a guitar tech appeared on stage and he handed off his guitar. AND THEN...the rock star, diva, bullshit! He picked up his pedal board and chunked it across the stage. Really you douchebag! WE, the audience, didn't really even notice, and honestly were having too much fun to give a shit, until you did that. What an ass bag!


So to wrap up the evening, Filter played the next song, hurriedly played their monster hit "Hey man, Nice Shot!" and ran off stage and out the back door to their awaiting bus. At least we didn't have to stroke any one's ego by cheering for an encore and "one more song!"








I had a nice shot, man, with Ben, the GM of The Dirty Dog, and my buddy Eric. Great evening, and memories I share here on the net with all of you in photo and words.



Special thanks to Anthony at Come and Take It Productions for a Hella good time!



Laters

An evening with the Ghost

...And who was the band that inspired me and several others to crawl out of the woodwork? None other than the inimitable and wonderfully diabolical Ghost B.C. aka Ghost (http://ghost-official.com/), hailing from Sweden.







I approached Emo’s (http://www.emosaustin.com/) on East Riverside in Austin and I was early to arrive and surprised at the numbers of people that had already shown. Glancing at the faded, green walls of the outside, I remembered all the good times I had here when this building used to be the old Back Room club until it closed in the mid-2000’s. It seems fitting that another pillar of Austin’s live music scene, Emo’s, chose to make this their prime location after closing their longtime stronghold downtown on 6th street. Now, expanded and renovated, this venue is serving to bring bands like Ghost and many more to our happy little hamlet for the enjoyment of those of us with a taste for the darker and heavier sides of music.


Inside, I was greeted to the familiar sights, sounds, and smells (yes, always the smells) of a crowded club waiting with anticipation for the show to begin. I decided to make my way to a spot close to the front of the stage, where a cluster of people were already staking their claims for a good view of the festivities to come.


For those not familiar with them, Ghost B.C.(more popularly known as simply “Ghost” but, for legal reasons, unable to use that name in North America) play a style of primitive heavy metal mixed with psychedelic rock’n’roll. Ghost have crafted a highly theatrical, almost absurdly over-the-top Satanic image, complete with cultist robes, scary masks, candles, incense, and stage back-drops of stained-glass windows. Despite the lack of contemporary “heaviness”, Ghost’s subtly catchy songs are rife with dark themes and sinister harmonies that more than make up for any lost aggression.




The stage decor was already set up: a huge wall-to-ceiling tapestry designed to make it appear like you were looking out three enormous stained glass windows in an ancient, medieval church. The stained glass on the windows each depicted scenes of gruesome death, occult imagery, and other diabolical fare. In front of that, there was an American flag, torn and blackened as if by some apocalyptic fire, propped up between two wooden posts. Finally, at the front of the stage stood two angular wooden crosses.  At the time, I had thought the flag and the crosses were part of Ghost’s stage set, but soon came to understand that these belonged to the opening band, King Dude.



King Dude (https://www.facebook.com/kingdudemusic), How to describe them? The three of them sauntered slowly onto the stage as the fog machines rolled out mist and the ‘90’s metal hits that had been playing over the intercom were gradually turned down. I noted there was only a drummer and two guitarists (one of which seemed to also be the singer), but no bass player. I was curious as to what they’d sound like. Then, the singer picked up his semi-hollow electric guitar (which should have been a clue) and begin strumming some melancholy-sounding open chords with a semi-clean, slightly reverbed tone. To be honest, the feel of that first song came quite unexpected, considering the general “metal” atmosphere. It was a sad, dark country/folk tune with a slow, lumbering beat that made you feel like you were trudging across the desert at night with only the moon to light your way.



I could tell by their reactions that many of the others in the audience were just as taken aback by this entrance. Their set continued, with songs that ranged from more dark and somber country/folk rock, to furious rockabilly stomps. I was particularly impressed by their final song, which saw the drummer rattling a long, linked chain in time with the bass drum to create a true “walking to the gallows” feel. It was a great way to end a set! In all, I actually felt that King Dude, with their “haunted country” or “southern goth” styling, made an interesting contrast to Ghost. Well done, gentlemen! I’ll be listening for more things from you.



The metal that had blared over the intercom was replaced by a somber, echoing Gregorian chant. Combined with the sweet smell of the incense, and with the fog machines continuing to roll the mist out across the stage and into the audience, the atmosphere truly felt like the beginning preparation for an old-fashioned Catholic mass. Unlike that holy ceremony, however, we were shaping up for a most decidedly unholy affair, indeed.  




And, we were not disappointed.



The five Nameless Ghouls (two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and keyboard player) filed out on stage with their instruments, enshrouded in black, cultist robes and wearing grotesque, long-nosed masks. The two guitarists were distinguished by their choice of color for their custom Gibson Explorers, with the one on the left side of the stage holding a black one and the other on the right sporting one with a white finish. They all stood in silence for a moment, then, all at once, a choir of voices broke the silence as the band launched into the title track of their most recent album, Infestissumam. The track is a short one, building up the intensity each moment and serves as an intro leading right into the opening chords of “Per Aspera Ad Inferi”, the stomping, diabolical call of welcome that Ghost had prepared for us.






Papa Emeritus II, resplendent in flowing black robes with a sacrilegious pope’s mitre (the traditional Pope’s hat) atop his head and brandishing a tall staff with an inverted cross at the top entered the stage to the screaming delight of the devoted fans in the audience. He approached the mic, gracefully waving a greeting to the masses before him and began to sing the opening verse. From that moment on, he commanded the room like a grisly conductor, raising a hand towards each musician in turn as they featured on the song.




Ghost continued playing through song after song, showcasing the blasphemous harmonies that make them great. Throughout their set, Papa demonstrated that he is certainly one of the more charismatic front men in rock and metal today, all without needing to resort to the hyperactive antics typically espoused by singers in these genres. He also displayed a lighthearted, humorous side, as well, joking with the crowd between songs. “So, how are the women of Austin?” he asked, to a roar of female voices. Gesturing for quiet, he shrugged and clarified, “I was asking the men…” which brought on a chorus of laughter.


Now, up to this point, the audience had been fairly well behaved, nodding their heads and singing along to each song. But then, Ghost finally came to one my personal favorites (and a lot of other peoples’ as it stood) ”Stand By Him”. When Ghost came to the chorus, the fans near the front could no longer contain themselves and burst into a chaotic mosh pit. Ghost does not (strictly speaking) make the kind of music that normally invites moshing, but the fervor they’d built up in the crowd required a release of pressure, evidently. After the song finished, Papa shook his finger and admonished the crowd, “Now, now. Behave out there, you. I’ll tell you what, I’ll be back in a little while. You calm down, yes?” With that, he strode off stage.




The evening had been a grand one but, at last, Ghost came to their “final” song “If You Have Ghosts”, penned by Austin’s own Roky Erickson. It seemed an appropriate gesture of respect, here at Emo’s in Roky’s hometown, and this was not lost on the crowd, who cheered vigorously as the song came to its conclusion.




I stumbled into the parking lot in a daze, feeling that old tingling sensation I used to get back in my younger, concert-going days. With the ritual just experienced, I felt rejuvenated. And, damn it, it’s good to know I’ve still got that old enthusiasm for great, live music still going inside. It might be down to mostly embers these days, but the flame still burns brightly on occasions like this. For that I am thankful to Ghost B.C. for bringing their incredible showmanship and downright awesome music to my city. I certainly hope this isn’t the last we see of them here but, with their name on the rise, I have a feeling they’ll be back before too long. My suggestion: don’t hesitate to go check them out. Maybe I’ll see you there.





Jay Longoria
edited by William Tompkins


Laters