Half Japanese, Brown Whörnet, Adult Rodeo, Emo's, January 29

Live Shots

Half Japanese, Brown Whörnet, Adult Rodeo

Emo's, January 29

By 10:30pm, Danny & the Nightmares had been done 10 minutes. Damn that squirrelly Daniel Johnston! According to Sadies guitarslinger Dallas Good -- hired out by Johnston's ol' Half Japanese buddy, Jad Fair -- "Danny wasn't supposed to open." All the better for Adult Rodeo, an Austin band that plays out seldom (more and more lately), but would surprise a lot of scensters if they did. Putting on their best Kissyface, last year's schizophrenic oddity for NY avant-indie label Shimmy-Disc, Adult Rodeo coalesced the album's fragments into a galvanizing 45-minute set that started somewhere around New Wave and ended with punk fucking rock -- the bulging-veins kind. Coming on like the Talking Heads, bassist Stephanie Mankins playing off her microphone g-friend, keyboardist Kristen Erickson (and her hot pink Toys 'R' Us instrument/phallus), wild Byrneman Rob Erickson set the tone late, but he set it on fire. Halfway through the band's set, after a perfunctory minute-and-a-half guest shot from Fair, Erickson's flaming red hair nearly caught fire when he announced Kissyface's last song, "Water," and then proceeded to hit full stomp mode 3-4 minutes later. That made both freaks and yuppies in Emo's quickly crowded front room stop eyeing each other a minute or two. "We've got a couple more," gulped Erickson, catching a breath, the group ending their set by metastasizing a ragga groove into a galloping saddle ride for Erickson's gnawing vocals. A lesser Austin band than Brown Whörnet might not have wanted to follow such an act, but not head bumble bee Drew, who opened the eightpiece avant-prog band's 35-minute hot flash with, "Let's try and keep a positive attitude and maybe everything will work out." Incantation having gone up at exactly midnight (set times, changes, and breakdowns were swift), two saxophones and a trumpet, a Gibson SG, a couple of sailor suits, and the bassist in a red wig launched into a musical chaos reminiscent of an opera (with maracas!) having gone awry -- hard, funky, Zappaesque freakouts with a soft spot for Bob Seger. Fair, meanwhile, sat on the couch by the door holding hands with a blonde. He was up soon enough -- at precisely 1am -- and by the time he'd finished at exactly blinking-light bar-time, Fair had demonstrated how totally awesome Daniel Johnston would be if he were more like Jonathan Richman fronting the Buzzcocks. He flat-out rocked the house, hardcores in heaven by the end, mouthing every single word of every weird and wacky two-minute pop-punk ditty. "This'll be the last song," hiccuped Fair at the last, "'cause I want to get back and watch some TV." Jad, baby, you earned it. --

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