The triumphant return of the True Believers, Austin’s best guitar army ever, continues, though Saturday’s ACL set found the fivepieve severely wounded. Their scheduled hour-long set was abruptly cut short at the 40-minute mark when former Scratch Acid drummer Rey Washam cut his hand and couldn’t continue.
Up to that point, the band’s set was one blast of hard, melodic rock after another.
The Escovedo brothers, Alejandro and Javier, remain the visual focal point, with the former doing his best Elvis impersonation: dark, wraparound shades and a black Pompadour piled high. The rest of the band makes its mark with musicianship. Jon Dee Graham remains nobody’s fool when he’s got a guitar in his hands, and the rhythm section of Washam and bassist Denny DeGorio continues to be as solid as they come.
Last year’s reunion at a Moody Theater tribute to late South by Southwest music head Brent Grulke felt so right it infused new life into the Troobs, with new songs like the scintillating “Dedication” and a recent EP. Fans came for the old songs Saturday, and they weren’t disappointed.
From the squalling set opener “Rebel Kind,” they segued into one of Graham’s best-loved melodies, “One Moment to Another,” and never let up, following with “She’s Got,” “Nobody’s Home,” and “The Rain Won’t Help You When It’s Over,” among others. Javier’s new contribution “Gypsy Son” burned with equal fire.
The band reports Washam’s injury will be healed in time for next Saturday’s performance, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that this week’s ending was bewildering and disappointing.
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