Saturday was one of those days where there were so many options of what to do that you couldn’t shake a stick without finding a good show. Over at Indie Houston World Headquarters there was the Buxton/Robert Ellis tour kick off with Listen Listen, Super Happy Funland had a great evening benefiting the ever scrappy Sedition Books that included A Thousand Cranes, Anarchitex and Room 101, Dansparc over at Numbers was celebrating a 7 million years of bootie shakin’, and Rudyards had the Hell City Kings record release going on to name a few.
Ironically, given all the things to do, it seemed as if I wasn’t going anywhere and, thinking this, I left my camera at home (which is why the only image you’ll see here is a poorly drawn picture of Joe Mathlete using MS Paint ). Thankfully, fortunes changed and, after considering all the options, I had to put my money down on seeing the final Mathletes show over at Mangos. I mean as great as the other shows were, this could possibly be my last time to hear songs about robots and unicorns performed live like the good lord intended! How could I miss out on that?!
So, off to Mangos we went and we made it just in time to catch the last few songs by Young Mammals. Bonus was hearing Andrew Ortiz playing behind the kit with all the fun and joyful fury he’s known for. I’m still bummed about him leaving Wild Moccasins but seeing him behind the kit only reinforced why he’ll be missed as he’s one of the few drummers who can upstage the people in front of him. The Mammals themselves played with all the fun and hoopla you’d expect and closed with a guns blazing version of Dragon Wagon. Hooray! Glad we made it in time to see some of their set.
Afterwards, the The Mathletes, opening with a stellar Pinnochiobot, raged into a great jukebox set of some of their best songs. The crowd ate it up as the band played with the kind of friendly intimacy you’d expect at a house party where nobody is trying to impress anyone but are just there to have fun and celebrate a very talented and wonderful friend’s music. Surprisingly, the spectre of this being billed as the final Mathletes show never hung over the evening. I don’t think any of us really believe that The Mathletes won’t return to the stage in some form or other; after all, Joe is the Mathletes and the Mathletes are Joe. So, instead of listening to the songs with a bittersweet ear, we in the audience simply smiled, hooted, cheered, and forced the band to play multiple encores until it was clear that the band couldn’t play anymore. Hell, chaos is half the charm of the Mathletes anyhow and the fun sloppy unrehearsed encores were a blast. So for our efforts we got sloppy versions of a Smashing Pumpkins song; a mash up of the Velvet Underground’s Sister Ray, Wire’s Strange, and The Modern Lovers’ Roadrunner; and a rip roaring version of my favorite Mathletes song Animals which was still great to hear even without Jenny (Robot McGee) on vocals. I can’t ask for much better than that and, in point of fact, I’ll take a fun unrehearsed encore by these guys over the most polished soulless Buzz band any day.
So, long live the Mathletes and all who sail with her and thanks Joe for 10 years of singular, quirky, droll, fun, and uncompromising music. I expect at least another 10 more.