Roky Erickson & the Explosives

Halloween: Live 1979-1981 (SteadyBoy)

SXSW Platters

Roky Erickson & the Explosives

Halloween: Live 1979-1981 (SteadyBoy)

Varying degrees of sound quality make this new collection of vintage live recordings a mixed bag. Recorded in Texas and California during his horror-movie-driven re-emergence, Roky Erickson and his unflappable young backers blast through "Two Headed Dog" and "I Walked With a Zombie" before an appreciative Raul's audience. Clocking in just shy of eight minutes, "Stand for the Fire Demon" gradually grows into a smoldering, shrieking menace of epic proportions. The first 11 songs on Halloween sound like cleaned-up soundboard tapes, but the last third's fidelity reeks of a condenser microphone on a cheap handheld recorder. Songs like "Creature With the Atom Brain" and "White Faces" lose their eerie snap in the translation, as does an off-the-cuff cover of the Beatles' "I've Just Seen a Face." This one is definitely for the completists. (Wednesday, March 12, Austin Music Hall, 11pm.)

**.5

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