Was (Not Was)

Saturday

SXSW 08 Music Live Shots
Photo by John Carrico

Was (Not Was)

La Zona Rosa, Saturday, March 15

Even if most folks never got over 1988's goofy "Walk the Dinosaur" ("open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur"), it was still a true crime that a bigger crowd didn't attend the closing-night Was (Not Was) set. With the exception of a recent L.A. appearance, the act's SXSW showcase marked the first time in 20 years that producer Don Was and his faux-bro David Was have gathered the original members of the seminal Detroit surrealist funk & soul group. That meant that Sweet Pea Atkinson arrived flanked by Sir Harry Bowens and Donald Ray Mitchell, all three raising their miraculous voices and spinning like four tops on standards "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and the Was original "Where Did Your Heart Go?" Randy "Boneshaker" Jacobs contributed blistering, pyrotechnic guitar work, while drummer James Gadson, who worked with Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers, plays even now with the force and precision of beat-keepers half his age. If Zappa were still alive or George Clinton could still sing, Was (Not Was) might have some competition live, but for one night only, you couldn't only "Feel Better Than James Brown," as the band put it; you could also pay homage.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Dan Oko
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
10pm, Antone's

March 15, 2013

Ballroom Dancing
SXSW Keynote: Dave Grohl
SXSW panel reviews

March 15, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Was (Not Was)

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle