The Converters

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SXSW Live Shots
Photo By Gary Miller

The Converters

Room 710, Friday 15 The Converters will make your brain sprain, your liver quiver, your bladder splatter, and your knees freeze. Randall Stockton is the big bad boss with the red-hot sauce. Forget all the blues bands with horn sections and female backup singers, and the wannabe-Vaughans playing 32-bar solos on their Strats. Austin's Converters take the blues back to the piney woods and the tarpaper juke joints where it all got going, with a sound that owes more to Lazy Lester and Jimmy Reed than local stalwarts like the Thunderbirds. They could make Strom Thurmond shake it like Tina Turner with a shot glass full of fire ants poured down the back of her pantyhose. Stockton blows that harp like an irritated Sonny Boy Williamson, flanked by Billy Korpi and Grady Pinkerton on guitar. Starting at the dreadfully early hour of 8pm, they nonetheless had a clutch of women out on the dance floor by 8:30, shakin' collective booty for all they were worth. By the second song, Stockton was sweating and stomping around the stage like a man possessed and struggling mightily to get the demons out. Most importantly, though, the Converters sound like a whole band, not a bunch of guys backing a hot-dog guitar player or narcissistic singer. They play the blues with all the finesse of a wrecking ball, but that's what it was supposed to be about anyway -- raw, primal, compelling music that's meant for drinking, dancing, and having a good time. Nouveau-neo-blues bands like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the Delta 72 just wish they could muster up a fraction of the power that these guys call up. Yessirreebob. If you haven't gone to see them yet, you deserve to have your ass kicked royally. Period.

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