Liveshots

THE LAZY COWGIRLS

Emo's, November 9 To anyone who wasn't there, this gush of words is gonna seem the biggest hype this side of the last 15 years' worth of British music press. To which the only sane and sober reply is: Fuck you. You weren't there. You'll never know the power of the Lazy Cowgirls. It's criminal how small a
segment of this planet knows of these 12-year punk & roll veterans and their volatile update/refinement on American protopunk. Sure, you can call out that holy sextet of the Stooges/Dolls/MC5/Ramones/Dictators/Rolling Stones just as surely as you can with Sons of Hercules and loads of other cool bands, but the ferocious authority with which these Angelenos (by way of Vincennes, Indiana) manhandle those seminal influences is all their own. Ask the dogpile of bodies who scrambled on the beer-slick Emo's dance floor to scream classics like "Goddamn Bottle" in the same mike as singer Pat Todd, a compact dynamo of a frontman who bears more than a passing resemblance to Danny DeVito. Nothing stood in these guys' way, not even the sad case who climbed the stage to do a drunken coochie dance that was funny for one song (ironically, one titled "Who You Callin' Slut?") before she was mercifully pulled down. Other bands played that night. I can't remember any of `em. Other bands played other nights, and I can't remember any of them, either. Watching the Lazy Cowgirls this night was like watching a bomb go off, and every other band in the universe now seems like Roxette in comparison. One of the five best rock & roll shows I've ever seen, dead easy. --
Tim Stegall

TWELVE BRAVE ACTS: OPEN MIKE

Ruta Maya, November 9 "...critics are like brushers of noblemen's clothes" (Francis Bacon). Little Mikey: good overuse of dramatic pause, interesting electric bass, basic guitar, lyrics okay, melodies unremarkable. Touch: comfortably strong voice tilts toward muscular Karen Carpenter; solid supportive guitar. Shark Bait: festering Foster & old blues, remarkable harmonica, serviceable guitar, nice voice, effective tongue-in-cheek presence. Daniel Bull: piercing vocals, good try at ballads hampered by tedious preambles. Gary Pflug: voice technique poor (murmurs to cries), lyrics submerged, slap-happy guitar; but important glimmers of good arrangements. Tony Burnett: one very nice Western folk song with soul, better than other songs. Russ Bartlett: clear lyrics with something to say, good harmonica and guitar bridge; preambles long but effective. Bryan Wallace: light songs, pleasant guitars, nicely modulated voices. Derek Morris & the Cats: drum too colorless, voice too tight, lyrics muffled; unusually good song selection and effort on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" Bob West: notable six- and 12-string guitar work; pedestrian but inoffensive vocals. Mark Alan Camper: guitar and voice rudimentary, try bridge work, vocal variety, and dramatic pause. Forrest Darst: very nice instrumental guitar, classical to rock motifs; quiet, soothing end to a well-run show and a gutsy night. -- Stephen McGuire

TEX THOMAS &

THE DANGLIN' WRANGLERS

Continental Club, November 19 Traditions don't have to be good to be traditions. Sometimes just being familiar will do. Tex Thomas, who used to hold court at Hut's every Sunday evening, won't be playing at the White House anytime soon, but that's not the point. If musicians have a responsibility to themselves when they go into the studio, when they play live their responsibility is to the audience. The Continental crowd didn't seem to mind that Thomas skipped out on what seemed like every other song to, uh, fortify himself, because most of them -- including me -- were as snockered as he was. Between beers, Thomas' five-piece band lit on every conceivable melodic form that exists in the Western canon, from fiddle-break hoedowns to the Mexican hat dance to Broadway show tunes to tenor-sax-driven Fifties R&B. In and of itself, the set was certainly nothing special, but in its context -- where the only three real options were to dance, tap along, or for God's sake have another beer -- it was perfect. Yes indeed the "beerplugs" were working overtime Sunday night, and, dammit, I had a great time. -- Chris Gray

DEL THE FUNKEE HOMOSAPIEN

Catfish Station, November 10

Promoted as a Hieroglyphics getdown featuring Del, Casual, and Pep Love, this Friday night session attracted a healthy crowd of suburban youth fiending to peep a hip-hop commotion. Baby G served as the host deejay educating the crowd on fresh underground expressions including a recurring theme of "Liquid Swords." Tee Double and Teddy Lee collaborated as the opening act trading lyrical blows while Cassanova crossfaded breaks ala Grandmaster Flash. Pep Love got the Hiero showcase underway with his yet-to-be-released vigor, but he seemed confused, receiving limited crowd interaction from a sea of blank stares. Casual couldn't make the trip from Oakland, so brethren Opio and Phesto filled his position with splices of Souls of Mischief material and a cover-song tribute to their absent homeboy. Del hit the stage looking hella ragged, but still managed to amp the crowd with his extraterrestrial rhymes. Obviously bugging off of an undetermined contraband, he steadily babbled nonsense between songs only to tighten his mind and delivery as beats would kick in behind him. When club management encouraged the performers to wrap things up, Pep Love, Opio, and Phesto joined Del for a freestyle session. For all of the boasting that Hieroglyphics spits concerning their spontaneous skills, they fail to live up to their contentions. Throughout the crew, a definite adequacy qualifies their efforts, but in all seriousness, their freestyles are about as dope as a twamp sack of Mexican dirt. Props go to Jay Biz and Domino for providing turntable cuts to back the headliners, but they should advise their MC's to invest in thesauruses to help them avoid the monotony of simple-minded raps. -- Rashied Gabriel

DALE WATSON

Ginny's Little Longhorn, November 16 Ginny's Little Longhorn is a revelation, and thankfully Dale Watson knows it. Watson started doing gigs at this little shotgun shack of a bar several months ago, recognizing the power of its lack of self-awareness. This is the kind of place that for years (and through various incarnations, some not so pleasant) has existed mainly as a place where there's beer and set-ups. Watson's song, "The Honky-Tonkiest Bar in Town," about the Little Longhorn (now run by Ginny, a living angel), actually obscures why the place is so perfect for his shows. It's not a honky-tonk, really -- before now no one had ever gone there in search of music. When Austinites go to what they think of as honky-tonks, they carry a necessary jadedness that the crowd at Ginny's (mostly regulars looking pleased as punch, but also a few young, hip types and even one or two notable musicians) does not. Watson has fostered a kind of garden party for the blue collar set, where the air is thick with appreciation of the moment. He calls the comical drunks -- who are ragged and boisterous, but appropriately so -- by name, engaging them like roommates; they're just as much a part of the experience as anyone else. This genuine feeling for the crowd comes through in the music. Fifty some-odd songs later, when he's touched on every artist from Charley Pride to Mundo Earwood, and brought up one of the regulars for "Folsom Prison" (which I enjoyed a hell of a lot more than Chris Wall's contributions), it's clear that he's feeding off the atmosphere. And while he does adhere to his idea of what's pure country, which, while not as strict as that of a band like the paradigmatic Derailers, is plenty strict, he clearly feels the tug of the crowd-pleaser. You can't blame him, because he's only trying to return the favor. -- Kirven Blount

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