Welcome to my new live review column for the Free Press’ blog in which I recap for you some fine shows in our town under the helpful guidance of Jameson and Lone Star.
Larry Pirkle (aka PRKL8R) is a Houston institution and I got a total laugh when he wrote the following on Hands Up Houston:
“the only thing you didn’t get a picture of was the empty floor like 10 seconds after they stopped playing at 20 til 2. did anyone notice that they didn’t play “21st century” or “stop”? that’s because they were saving them for the encore that no one even gave the energy to ask for. yeah, people texting in the front row, a crowd of ####ers standing in my way (not dancing, standing) with their arms crossed, and an entire crowd that just turned and walked away without cheering for an encore as if they were just happy to have the whole damn thing over with. Houston is weak. “
God, I love Larry because he doesn’t fuck around. Damn it, the Dirtbombs came to town, rocked your face off, and you were too stupid to ask for more. I love that! And yes, I was one of the losers who ran downstairs with his friends and enjoyed a few more drinks outside of Rudz on a lovely night. Guilty as charged but, let’s face it, The Dirtbombs played a pitch-perfect set. It was like eating some finely prepared meal and you wouldn’t dare ask the chef for another course so instead you sit there patting your rotund belly and maybe emitting a burp of satisfaction. Really, they pegged it! I mean unless you were at the warehouse party watching American Sharks and The Young Mammals with Mlee Suprean ripping it up so hard that the yuppie bastards in the townhouses finally called the cops to shut them down, you should have been here. With that one exception, if you weren’t in the room as the band ripped through their set with the force of an 18-wheeled semi, you seriously missed out on some serious rock and roll. But let’s cut back a few hours and take it from the top…
I swear, I had planned on catching the Dead Roses’ full set but circumstances being what they were I had a few drinks and chat with my friends beforehand and time just got away from us. Sorry, that kind if thing will happen. Sometimes you make it on time and other times you sit in a patio hearing gory stories of someones giant puss filled spider bite. Thankfully, I did at least roll-in and catch the last song from the Roses right when it began. Danny Mee on the drum kit was a treat and Ralph was ripping it up front on the bass. You can imagine my disappointment when Ralph then said “Thank you!” and the band started packing-up its gear. The Roses have some great songs and I always get a kick out of watching them play live. C’est la vie.
San Francisco’s Kelley Stoltz followed with a great little set even if perhaps only Will Adams, I, and a maybe handful of people stood up front to catch it. Really some lovely bouncy 60’s inspired garagey pop. (Attention John Sears and Joe Mathlete you may like want to check this fellow out. ) Smaltz moved from keyboards to guitar in the set which seemed a bit odd as he seemed more comfortable behind the keys but the set never lost its hop. His backing band was nimble and had the nice touch of having one fellow on sax and xylophone which added some very much appreciated texture outside of the standard rock triumvirate of guitar, bass, and drums. Now, don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a holy crap they rocked that shit out kind of performance; this wasn’t a Fatal Flying Guilloteens set. Instead, this was a band that was clearly concerned with presenting the songs for you and doing it right - no frills despite the extended band. Kelly Stoltz was like sitting on your porch on a hot summer day and someone brings you a ice cold drink and right then you get a nice cool breeze. Nothing big or pushy but beautiful in its simplicity and you can’t help but admire Stoltz’s confidence in simply letting his songs do all the heavy lifting. I was very glad to have caught it.
/bin/kick > jams
or should we say
fsck out the jams!
Let’s move on to the main course! The Dirtbombs. The motherfuckin’ Dirtbombs. They come in all dual-op - two guitars, two basses, and two drummers - and proceed to pile-drive through their set. Sure Mick Collins didn’t run around the stage like a mad man. We’ll leave those parlour tricks to people like Ted Nugent. No, Collins didn’t need to do that - the man simply owned the stage and, with his army behind him, he was unstoppable. Now, the Dirtbombs’ webpages don’t really help when it comes to getting some names so you’ll have to excuse me but his second guitarist was great - flailing away and ripping it up - while the drummers hit you with the relentless beat of each song.
I mean Larry was right! How were we not dancing?! I was standing on a speaker, snapping pics, and drunk off my ass - I simply couldn’t dance unless I wanted to look like some hideous go-go dancer. But really, the floor should have been hopping. What the fuck was wrong with us? You’d think the heat, sweat, and energy coming front he stage would be enough to make the place hop like some perverted whack-a-mole. Me? Personally I think I was just awestruck by the band and like a deer in headlights with a shit-eating grin on my face while they played their set. I mean you simply couldn’t move. It was like “holy fuck they are kicking it so hard that I am paralyzed”! Truly we were not ready for what they brought down from Detroit**. Take heed if you are in another city and reading this! If the Dirtbombs are coming your way, you have been warned!
** I stupidly put Chicago originally. Thanks Dan for the correction. My Ted Nuget swipe and MC5 reference now make a bit more sense now, huh. I have no clue what happened there.
Pics my me