Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows

Live shot

Texas Platters
Photo By Mary Sledd

Big Chief Kevin Goodman & the Flaming Arrows

Red Eyed Fly, Jan. 19

With hurricane winds scattering tribes westward, Mardi Gras Indians find themselves reinstating their festive customs here in Austin. Founded by his father in 1963, Big Chief Kevin Goodman's troupe of Flaming Arrows translates second-line traditions to the funk format as they run through a full menu of New Orleans standards. "Big Chief" by Professor Longhair, "Iko Iko" by the Dixie Cups, "Fire on the Bayou" by the Meters, and "Meet de Boys on the Battlefront" by Wild Tchoupitoulas each flashed feathers on the Red Eyed Fly stage like warring social clubs in exuberant strut. Chanting a Creole patois that bridges the gravelly gap between Louis Armstrong and Juvenile, Goodman fronts a band that stretches numbers into meditative mantras à la Funkadelic milking a third encore. While sound issues and the inexperience of new recruits to the group resulted in a shaky presentation last Thursday night, the Flaming Arrows should eventually coalesce as a mighty riverboat of swamp magic. Teaching his newly adopted city that Mardi Gras entails so much more than merely booze, beads, and big tits, Big Chief Kevin regaled his audience with a hand-stitched costume fit for a shaman. Representing the crossroads of Native American, African, Spanish, and French cultures, even a seasonal children's song such as the Meters' "They All Ask'd About You" teems with implied functionality. At a point in time when eating King Cake without swallowing its baby seems like a lost art, Big Chief Kevin busies himself by soothing the souls of those in exile.

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