Terry Allen & Bob Schneider

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Texas Platters
Photo by John Anderson

Terry Allen & Bob Schneider

Antone's, Jan. 29

Billed as unprecedented and unplugged, this exhibition pitting flatland legend Terry Allen against popular upstart Bob Schneider proved unpredictable and pugilistic. The pair of songwriters sat side by side upon the storied stage of Antone's for four rounds of alternating solo blows in two hours of tenaciously tested wit. Both began unassumingly, Schneider jabbing first with "Idiot Test" as Allen countered casually with "Advice to Children." Despite Schneider's landing a hook on "The World Exploded Into Love," round one was all Allen on the strength of "Amarillo Highway." Changing tact, the Austinite settled for cheap shock ("God Is My Friend"), while Allen dug deep with "Dogwood," though Schneider clearly took the bell with crowd-rousing body blows like "40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)." Allen's relentless head shots began to overpower the relative youngster in round three, as the latter bided time with anecdotes in response to the former's slyly deployed "Beautiful Waitress." As Schneider began picking Scabs on "Hanging Out With the Horny Girls," Allen punched back with the caustic charm of "Crisis Site 13," and the third cycle closed a draw. As the bout wore on, Allen sought to slow the pace but not the power with "Peggy Legg." Schneider weaved sincerity and realism in "2002." Finally Allen laid it to rest with an undisputed TKO on his Guy Clark co-write "Queenie's Song," leaving Schneider only to flail in the ropes of looped effects. "They told me I better bring my 'A' game. I don't have an 'A' game," Schneider conceded upon return for a brief encore, which left Allen room for one parting shot: "A stands for 'Asshole.'"

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