Fu Manchu, Speedealer, Honky
Stubb's, August 10 Stop whining about the heat. This is the heart of Texas. It gets hot here. Real hot. For a real long time -- each and every year. If you don't like it, go back to wherever you came from. The rest of us, we'll just congregate out in the dusty dusk of Stubb's expansive back yard, cold beers, cheap weed, and Seventies metal for all. Honky's opening set, the aural equivalent to Grant Wood's classic ma, pa, and their pitchfork painting, American Gothic -- honest, ornery, Midwestern -- cried like centuries-old stoner classics. Ted Nugent? Pat Travers? Robin Trower? All and none. The Austin trio has hammered its small catalog into a big rock show, their sound so familiar as to the point of distraction: They're just like ... ? Just like ... ? Shit, it's on the tip of my tongue. The slow, hard bump 'n' grind of "Your Bottom's at the Top of My List," the lurching, anthemic "Smokin' Weed With Helios Creed," Lance Farley's short drum solo -- the 200-or-so water-pipe enthusiasts present yelled for one more at the conclusion of the band's pounding 35-minute set. Instead, they got Denton's Speedealer. (Like the narc explained in Romancing the Stone, "There are schedules to be maintained -- even in Colombia.") A fast-burning fourpiece, Speedealer's post-punk thrash was all about low-slung Gibson SGs played at lightning speed accompanied by a low, guttural hoarseness that shreds vocal chords. Metallica meets the Misfits. "Kill Myself Tonight," following a building, Soundgardenesque mushroom cloud and smoke machine expulsion, strafed a crowd that had doubled like the devil in a biplane chasing Cary Grant down some deserted dirt road. By the time headliners Fu Manchu appeared an hour later, the slackers had doubled again, a crowd of 700-800 on hand to see the SoCal quartet do what they do best: the head-down stomp. Blue Cheer by way of Black Sabbath with Kiss thinning out the mix. A mosh pit opened on the second number, and yet it was still hard to figure out whether the cloud of smoke rising out front of the stage was dust or dope. Singer Scott Hill kept his long mane scraping his shoes throughout most of the band's pulverizing 13-song set, lead guitarist Bob Balch doing his best Angus Young with yet another Gibson SG. The shirtless testosterone knot down front grinned with wasted pride. "King of the Road," cowbell and all, "says you move too slow," but the band's galloping blur of bass, guitar, and drums never waned. Toward the end, a bit of stasis set in, but with the smoke machine working overtime by this point, who was gonna notice? Certainly not these hot August knights of metal. The rest of you whiners, poseurs, and yuppie interlopers can just get the fuck outta Dodge.