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Reviewed by Greg Beets, June 8, 2007, Music

Doctors' Mob, Wannabes

Hole in the Wall, June 1

There's nothing like a reunion show to make Austin feel half its size. Especially at a venerable spot like the Hole in the Wall, where the warm guitars and beer light pop songs of bands like Doctors' Mob and the Wannabes. Like their Minneapolis cousins in the Replacements, both these Austin mid-Eighties mainstays displayed audibly noble songwriting convictions, yet they were never above crash-landing a set with inappropriate cover songs after a pitcher or eight. Friday night's show didn't disappoint in either respect. The Wannabes drew heavily on 1990's Lucky Pierre, delivering a rousing rendition of "August," countered by a laughable, fall-apart ending on "Date With Bob." In the anthem-in-waiting file, "Bookstores and Restaurants" celebrated the apron-and-name-tag grind with equal amounts of piss and aplomb. The 'Bes finished with a well-chosen cover of INXS' "Don't Change" that left normally reserved grown men with no choice but to slam their pints and dance with uncoordinated abandon. Then Doctors' Mob took to the stage with a box of old CDs they were selling for the princely sum of $1 each. Opening with "Time's Up," the lead track from 1985's Headache Machine, the Mob played with a ferocity that bordered on hardcore before finally giving in to the genre's hypercaffeinated temptations with "Pat Blashill." They even duplicated the false starts from the recorded version of "Where I Live." Bassist Tim Swingle and drummer Glen Benavides were unmerciful as they pounded through the 20-year-old repertoire – landing most curves, missing a few, but giving no quarter regardless. When the ugly lights came on at closing time, the covers fusillade began with the Beatles' "She Said, She Said" and Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" before reaching a crowd-thinning nadir with Paul Revere's "Indian Reservation." It sucks to be the designated driver on a night like this.

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