ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

Dax Riggs

We Sing of Only Blood or Love (Fat Possum)

Dax Riggs' former project, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, never overcame the White Stripes comparisons, the duo of amateur female drummer and shaggy-haired frontman spouting stuttering blues-rock seeming too familiar, too soon. The singer's solo debut slithers up from the same swamp-rock pool but has evolved into an entirely different creature. "Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain" begins Blood or Love with a dark Nick Cave drive, shifting from an ominous Nocturama verse to explosive Grinderman freak-out. The sludgy, howling ending registers Riggs' intent, reaching back to his Acid Bath heavy metal origins. "Radiation Blues" and "Truth in the Dark" are raw rock monsters, throbbing and slathered guitar riffs roaring behind Riggs' quaking vocals, his superbly fluctuating range saving the album from the often angst-filled ridiculousness of lyrics like "Knelt a puppet on a string, along the vortex of weeping." His voice also carries the slower numbers like apocalyptic folk "Dog-Headed Whore," anti-gospel "The Terrors of Nightlife," and falsetto-tinged closer "Dethbryte" above the album's harder sound of the Black Crowes filtered through Stone Temple Pilots. If Riggs transcends the juvenile goth fixation for a more mature contemplation of mortality, Deadboy might find his second coming. (1:30pm, AT&T Blue Room stage)

***

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