Disclaimer: No boots were harmed in any attempt at the Texas Two Step.
Friday night I had a religious experience. I got to see Slobberbone play live. Let me clearly state that what I saw on Friday night was the best rock show I have seen in recent history, bar none! Brent Best and company could have easily been teaching school on how to put on a rock show. Every piece of the show was fluid between the band members but the music was as raw as rock is supposed to be. I realized just how amazing the night was going to be when the band pulled out “Lumberlung”, the third song of the set, and played it with all the emotion that it deserved and as the audience wailed along with the band there was an energy that even the yuppies trying to booty dance (no I am not kidding) couldn’t manage to fuck up. Brent ended the song with “Thanks for singing along you sensitive bastards” and launched right into the next song. Whiskey flowed freely and even yours truly ponied up for a round for the band and just about everybody standing close by. Over the course of the night, I gave up trying to keep track of the setlist, I felt all of my recent apathy about the scene fading away. This show reminded me of why I started going to shows in the first place and why I love music as much as I do. I honestly felt like was eighteen and seeing music through un-jaded eyes again.
After the show I got to sit outside with Brent and Jess in the moist gulf coast heat that seems ever present in Houston and just shoot the breeze. I didn’t pull out a pad and pen and try to take notes or conduct an interview as I am known to do. Instead, we talked about life, music, and all sorts of random shit. We even talked about getting Engine Joe turned in to a karaoke track at some point. Talking to Brent I got the feeling that crowds and shows like this in small venues with a sea of whiskey is the reason that Slobberbone started making music and I, for one, appreciate that point of view. As far getting to see them any time soon in your town; they’re trying to keep the touring to an absolute minimum for the moment as they work on a new album so you’re unlikely to get to see them in your town in the next little while (BOO!) but the upshot is they are working on a new record (YAY!).
In closing I have to say that while I may have been in a sort of funk regarding music lately and maybe even a little burned out that I am now renewed and it’s thanks to Slobberbone. From the opening riffs of the show to the cover of “I Got Drunk” to the wailing rendition of “Billy Pritchard” to the encore there wasn’t a single moment when I wanted to be anywhere else. And while Brent may threaten to “Dunk You In The River” he truly baptized that crowd on Friday night in pure rock n roll and did so with a smirk on face and guitar in his hands.
(I know the pics aren’t my usual quality but I didn’t grab the camera on my way out the door so that’s all I managed to get that was even visible on my phone.)
Since I don’t have any equipment to record shows you’ll have to make do with these tracks from Slobberbone’s “Last Show” before the recent reunion.
Somewhere inside of me, deep down, there is a gutter punk in me riding the Metro across Houston with a 24″ green mohawk and matching steel toed Doc Martens that sometimes queues up Fifteen, Screeching Weasel, Black Flag or makes me watch American Hardcore with just a little bit of regret to wash the whiskey down. He is the one that usually gets me in trouble. He is the one that turns up the headphones so loud my ears ring when I take them off and my coworkers can hear my music with them over my ears. He is the one that got me into Against Me! and while I love them I have never been an anarchist so it’s been a weird relationship. It didn’t stop me from screaming along with Baby I’m an Anarchist or putting Pints of Guinness Make You Strong on a ton of mix tapes and even though it’s been a while since I queued up an Against Me! album Reinventing Axl Rose is one of those classics I will always come back to. It’s one of those things that comes and goes with me. I never followed the band per se and didn’t know they had a new album out until someone dropped this one on me and piqued my interest. White Crosses is proof that even the most devout punks grow up some day. Sounding less like Crimpshrine these days and more like Bad Religion, not really but close enough if you know the bands, the boys in Against Me! have put together an album that is full of politics I don’t agree with but still love. Apparently they are calling this style folk-punk or some such nonsense. To me it’s just good music.
It’s not the music on this one that stands out though it’s the lyrics that make this album what it is. From the anthem of innocence lost and roads not taken I Was a Teenage Anarchist (“I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid. It was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me.”) to Bamboo Bones (“I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’ve got no grip. I’m leading with my jaw.”) Tom Gabriel presents us with everyday life complete with all of its dirty nasty reality. He throws down the gauntlet and expects us to pick it up. While this isn’t the most rockin’ album of the season nor does it push any barriers it is ultimately an album about not losing faith in yourself and those around despite all the shit this world throws at you and that’s all it needs to be. So call it folk-punk, rock ‘n’ roll or whatever the hell you want White Crosses is a solid offering from a band that isn’t afraid to grow up a little bit and put life into perspective.
If Nick Cave, a carnival barker, Jayne Mansfield, and the French Quarter had a love child it would be the five headed beast known as Dirty Bourbon River Show.Based in New Orleans these boys live up to their name even on a studio album and by that I mean you feel a little bit dirty and a lot like you need a glass of bourbon when you listen to them. Formed in 2009 under the name “Buck Johnson and the Hootenanny Kid” with just frontman Noah Adams and drummer Dane “Bootsy” Schindler they picked up Big Charlie Skinner and Wayne Mitchell along the way and the schizophrenic variety hour that is Dirty Bourbon River Show was pushed out, kicking and screaming into the world. The opening track, Anything Goes Tonight opens with Nawlins piano jangle and brings on the horns slow and dirty and really makes you believe that anything goes…tonight. After that the band yanks us kicking and screaming through all sorts of genres, sounds, and lyrical ruminations and shows an ability to make each style their very own in a way that makes you realize they own each note, each breath, each idea in the song. I even think I could dance to some it. It might not be pretty but I could do it. This stuff is Essential Listening for sure. I think the best track is Ruffian Since Birth but the whole album is worth putting the needle in the groove for without a doubt.
To top off releasing a flat out amazing first offering the band has a blog that isn’t just for promoting themselves. You can catch them lamenting the lack of rap music these days, posting strange pictures, and talking about other bands they dig. They carve they way into Houston on May, 10 and I plan to catch them because I have feeling that seeing these guys live will be more than just a good show. I almost expect dancing ponies and a ringmaster but I figure that’s a little over the top but from a band like this it wouldn’t shock me. So it’s time for you all to check out something that’s a little outside of what I normally cover because it’s just that damn good. I’ll be sure to let you know how the show turns out because it’s the show I am looking forward to the most in the next little while. Check ’em out live if you get a chance but for now check out these tracks and while you listen check out their Kickstarter project…it’s in the links below the tracks so you have no damn excuse not to. If you can spare a buck or two you can help fund their musical efforts.
Side Note: You may not know it from my postings here but I am fairly concerned about copyright issues in today’s society. From ACTA to copyright extensions every time Mickey Mouse is about to enter the public domain our rights to use the art we purchase, with our hard earned dollars, is being eroded. I mentioned the Kickstarter project because efforts like Kickstarter are a tool to attack the big labels who are fighting against our rights to share music with friends and even to make digital copies of music we have bought and paid for. I won’t go into a rant here, and trust me I easily could, but even if you don’t like DBRS all that much please look around Kickstarter and find project you can support. In doing so you help artists maintain control of their work and help promote your own rights by fighting against the record companies’ archaic, and dying, business model.
I’ll get off my soapbox now…