The Crack Pipes

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Texas Platters
Photo by John Anderson

The Crack Pipes

Emo's, Jan. 5

The return of the Crack Pipes marked the apex of Emo's nine-day, overwhelmingly local Free Week, the Austin R&B punks' first performance since South by Southwest 07 and guitarist Billy Steve Korpi's diagnosis with leukemia. Back in proselytizing form with a black porkpie hat and his irrepressible grin, Korpi's taking the stage may be but one step in his recovery, but there's no denying the spark he ignited in the Pipes' set. By that point, the evening's 13-act roster on three stages had mostly peaked. The Anchor cast off first inside, the former Idle Kids growling, "It's all right for the weekend," while Lalaland set a more temperate pace outside with the melodic crescendos of Mumbo Jumbo. Holding court in the Lounge, La Snacks' Robert Segovia spouted cynical through "Emo Kind of Love," even as the mic blew out. Brazos, cementing a stellar lineup with added guitarist Austin Jenkins and drummer Andy Beaudoin, exploded with the desperation of "Mary Jo" and sultry leer of "Mrs. Virginia" at the same time as Masonic's pop-rock highlighted the inside stage behind the Eryn Gettys' effervescent take on Del Shannon's "Runaway." Mothfight, though flitting the spotlight as a trio, maintained force by loading up on the loops, but the night belonged to the Crack Pipes. Korpi's garage licks lit up "Rescue Party" and rolled ecstatic through singer/shouter Ray Pride's moaning blues of "The World Is a Crooked Place" and Magic Sam's "What Have I Done Wrong." Though the full-house mob never reached usual Free Week frenzy, thinning for the Strange Boys' slurry set and Cruiserweight's sweet pop-punk weaponry, Car Stereo (Wars) packed both pit and stage in a mash-up maelstrom closing the Lounge. As Pride declared in the Crack Pipes' send-off, "Record Player Party," all hail rock & roll!

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