Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Top Five Bands Not to Observe

I often like to go to a live show to not observe a band. I'm still paying attention, with my ears, just not my eyes. You see, I like to dance. Now I'll dance to anything. If I'm in the right mood, I'll get busted bustin' a move to the muzak when the elevator doors open while my eyes are closed in an intense Hustle send-up.

Hey, I like a observational show too. Wilco is awesome, as are the Flaming Lips. Man Or Astroman always did some terrifically silly shit. And Jack White is one hell of a performer. It's horribly ego driven, but fuck it. The stage show is amazing.

But what I really like to do is dance to live country music. This came up through the original source of this blog; TK's In Defense of Country Music. Certainly there are country shows that are worth watching intently. The Reverend Horton Heat is not to be missed for stage theatrics, nor should you pass up a Southern Culture Show. But dammit if I don't like to go to a show and spin all the girls 'til they're barfing dizzy. The thing is, the music is listenable in its own right, through the stereo. But... Oh, just read the list.

In no particular order, but for very particular reason:

Dale Watson at the Continental in Austin. You'll have better luck catching him at Ginnie's and, for Christ's sake, Ginnie's Myspace page has Watson's "Whiskey or God" on it. But the Continental is a good room for Dale. Good sized dance floor, always filled with dancers and the Lone Stars just don't stop. They taste so good poured down your gullet after rippin' it up.

Heybale at Ginnie's. This is a fun show. The place is small. Long and narrow. The band, a five piece usually, two guitar, bass, drums and a peddle steel, sets up in the back corner on the floor (no stage), right next to the back door that everyone is using to go out back for a smoke. These guys play stompin' honky tonk country music. And they do it while the drunks, me included, swing eachother into the bar, the walls, the floor and the peddle steel. They just keep playing and smiling. Find that attitude anywhere else. I went to a show at Lucky's in South Boston. Tried the same stunt and boy, did the keyboard dude turn into a real bitch about it. These guys are great.

The Derailers at the Broken Spoke. This is a great dance hall. It's big - rows and rows of big tables on either side of a central dance floor. Low stage under a very low ceiling. The boys hats risk scraping the paint. This is a place where EVERYONE dances. In fact, after most every song, lead singer/guitarist Brian Hofedt will say, "Thank ya Dancers!" This is a cultural experience. You've got Granny and Grampy mixin' it up with the rockabilly kids and little ones waltzing like you always wished you could. No bad feelings though. Dance it up, good or bad. 'Cause good or bad, it'll be a big time either way.

The next two have no particular locale in my mind. I've seen 'em. I love 'em. Regardless.

Junior Brown. You got the chance, do it. Go for the Guit-Steel (the double necked contraption that resembles Jimmy Page's double necked guitar/bass, but it's a guitar and a "pedal" steel combined. It's so confusing) but stay for the good ol' dancing tunes. Junior is a beautiful musician and deserves to be seen, but he ain't never minded being ignored for a fine young gal who needs to be swung 'round.

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. These guys bring out the rockabilly scenesters like no other. While this makes for a very "cool" looking venue, most often none of these douchebags can dance. They got the shirts and shoes and the bad attitude, but in the hot rod world we have a term for this: all show and no go. So fuck them, push 'em aside and move it to the smooth sounds of these good time fellas. Big Sandy will likely be in a right sharp suit and pulling from a shiny hip flask all evening.

The point of all this is that, while each and every one of these bands is a spectacle in its own right, this is not spectacle time. It's spectacular, no doubt. However, this may be why so many punk rockers turned to country in the mid 90's. A large part of punk rock was the idea of taking the star factor away from the band and giving it to the mass of people in the pit.

A good mosh pit has zero difference from a great two-stepping floor.


Jez said...

You're a better man than me if you can not watch Junior Brown. That fucker is amazing, and I can't stop looking at that thing he's playing.

Boo said...

mosh pits and two-step dance floors are indeed kissin' cousins.

This is a great post; we should totally go dancing sometime. :)

Jez said...

Yeah! And then go get a burrito.

Boo said...

Yes. A burrito. And a kitty.