Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds

SXSW showcase reviews

Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds

Emo's Jr., March 18

Batting last in Leafy Green Booking's formidable showcase, guitarist Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds delivered a workmanlike set. As a founding member of the Gun Club, longtime member of the Cramps, and onetime sideman to Nick Cave, Powers proved himself the veteran among relative newcomers still capable of shimmering the glow of new discovery. The promulgation of the reverb-laden trash rock aesthetic makes it easy to forget that Powers is one of its avatars, but the impeccably bespectacled and mustachioed performer still finds room to keep the template fresh. Opening with "I Found a Peanut" from his new disc, Dracula Boots, Powers and company conjured up the boozy air of a basement B-side soul party. While the frontman's guitar sound juxtaposed punk rock insouciance with the underside of midcentury retro-futurism, drummer Ron Miller's backbeat gave the hips a New Orleans-style workout. The recent death of Cramps founder Lux Interior prompted the quartet's "I'm Cramped" in well-received tribute. The memory of departed Gun Club co-founder Jeffrey Lee Pierce was also invoked in spirited versions of "Sex Beat" and "For the Love of Ivy." Although old songs clicked on familiarity, the rhythmic undertones of more recent tunes like "LSDC" and "Black Bag" proved every bit as intriguing.

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