2012 was a busy year.
Brother Dege Legg Swan Dive – Austin, Texas
Lafayette, Louisiana is the current home of the musical anomaly known to many as Brother Dege Legg. He makes music and sometimes he works in a homeless shelter up to ten hours a day. He is a family man and a lover of life. You can hear it in his music, this love of life. It’s a Southern life. One we live and who others speak about like it’s a rare and unique thing. I guess it is. But when I hear Brother Dege Legg’s music it reminds me of all that surrounds and is a part of us on a spiritual and physical level. More than pain, less than more, and more or less just nothing of the something that reels us in; a simple connection…a feeling…an emotion; music. This is not unique. Dege is unique because his music has absolutely no dishonesty and there may never be any corruption to his personal sound quality. Whether it be loss or suffering or joy of the gathering, we are brought into Brother Dege Legg’s sound simply because he plays it straight. It is so real that it’s every bit of crazy, but he makes us willing to see it, to face it down like a charging bull, then pull away screaming “PYSCHE!”
My editor, Wendy Wwad turned me onto Bro Dege Legg’s music the night of his show at the Swan Dive. Hell, after working and dealing with the red light schema that so many other bars love to perpetuate, I was happy as a whale with a few guests in his belly, just to be working with white light! He came onto the stage with his Dobro, primarily a Bluegrass instrument, and went to town on it like it was a Jackson or a Strat. He owned it. I was deeply impressed. I was not the only one. While driving in his car, Quentin Tarantino heard him play “Too Old To Die Young.” He loved the sound and decided to add it to the “Django Unchained” soundtrack. You can hear Mr. Tarantino discuss the “Unchained Sountrack” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, on the Exclusive Django Unchained Track By Track Album Commentary with Quentin Tarantino Jump to 1:04 to hear him discuss Bro Dege Legg specifically. As whole it is an awesome podcast. Check out the whole thing.
The Lonestar Roots Revival-The Hole in the Wall.
The Lonestar Roots Revival had many great local bands perform for a good cause, Supporting Veterans in the Arts. It brought out a lot of well known Austin performers like Mrs. Glass, Guns of Navarone, Mike and The Moonpies, …oh just look at the poster.
Two new(ish) bands stood out.
The Bottom Dollar String Band=Wow. These guys love folk music. They played early on the first day of the event. Jordan Webster of Mrs. Glass and I sat there and watched the band play. They were great in unison, pitch, rhythm, and they played with the fire of youth.
Haydon and The Hoodoo Boys. They have a style that is Classic Country meets modern picking and stringing…it’s kinda fast and melodic. It’s also very pleasant to hear all the Classic Country influences without it being a direct rip-off. Some Austin bands are re-cycling an original sound. Haydon and The Hoodoo Boys have a specific quality of sound that is true to them.
Honky=March 13th, 2012-13th years of kicking off SXSW
One of the great things about living in Austin is we can see Honky play often. On March 13th some longtime fans got to celebrate 13 years of Honky at a pre SXSW kickoff at The Red Eyed Fly. When COC came to town to during SXSW, the band members and road crew joined us at The Fly to see Honky play. Why? Because it’s motherfucking Honky, that’s why. Ohh shit, this band never ceases to amaze. Currently some people are asking who the fuck is the current drummer? Justin Collins is no longer in the band having left shortly after SXSW. Lance Farley, a founding member of Honky and currently of Austin legends The Hickoids and PocketFishrmen rejoined the band for some dates. Former Syrup drummer, Michael ‘Night Train’ Brueggen, played with them on tour in Europe and a handful of dates here in the US including this summer at Red Eyed Fly. We were celebrating the release of “421” Honky’s newest recording. We love our Honky. We love Justin, Lance, and Night Train, too. Just play that funky music, white boys! …I mean Honky. Don’t hate.
C.O.C-Dirty DOG March 14th-A.K.A SXSW
Every year during SXSW I meet people from all over the world. This year I met a buncha dudes from Norway. They asked where the metal was during SXSW and I gave them the rundown. Great tour guides do not lie to Norwegian guys looking to find fun and often illicit things to do in Texas during SXSW. The guys were super excited to hear that Corrosion Of Conformity was playing at Dirty Dog. I guess they failed to hear that COC is currently playing without Pepper Keenan of DOWN because when I saw them on the night of the show I was heading in and they were heading out mumbling angry consonants. I laughed. I love the original COC. Reed Mullin is back from a painful back injury that put him on the side lines for almost ten years. Jimmy Bower of EyeHateGod and DOWN took over for him in January 2001. In July of 2011 Reed played a short tour of seven cities with original members of COC, Woodroe Weatherman and Mike Dean just to see if he could . Since then the three man band has been touring all over the world playing on metal based cruises, and European festivals alike. Recently they toured the West Coast with Lo-Pan, Goatwhore, Primate, and High on Fire. They started a year of touring, playing here at The Dirty Dog on Sixth Street, supporting their latest releases.
Blind Pets-The White Horse-SXSW
Joshua Logan, Gibson, and Dustin Hannah are the Blind Pets. We are their seeing eye humans. This local band makes the best of 2012 Live Shots cut because they are the best ass shakers around AND they do it with such abandonment. All fun aside, these guys play to the crowd and to their own muse. Get yourself some! Last time I spoke with them, they were creating analog tape recordings of their music. Love it. Also you can hear The Blind Pets : Fever on the Californication Season 6, soundtrack.
All Pigs Must Die-Scoot Inn-SXSW
All Pigs Must Die (APMD) was by far the most impressive hardcore death metal band that I saw during SXSW 2012. Hailing from somewhere in Massachusetts this band is relentless in its sonic assault, tempos, and vocalization….and they mean it, too. Metal is supposed to be pure catharsis. You go to a show, you unwind, you get rowdy, and you also play it cool. Sure, you can see a band that is ok and accomplish catharsis. It’s just that much better when the kick ass band you’re listening to is pure, unstoppable rage on a mission.
The Bridge Farmers-The White Horse-SXSW
The Bridge Farmers vocalist and co lead guitarist Tyler Hautala is a force of nature. When he sings and plays guitar, it’s like a tsunami of sound is delivered unto the crowd. Only thing left to do is roll with the blasted tide. Bassist Garett Carr never ceases to amaze me. He has a quiet yet unyielding style of playing that reinforces the sound of the band. There are few words to describe guitarist Jesse Moore. Passionate, focused, talented (goes without saying), and naturally hardcore. Aaron Perez is a quiet guy but is a drummer who hits the skins pretty damn hard. He has a way of holding the beat and moving the audience to the next level, following Hautala’ and Moore’s every move. In 2012 I took every chance I could to see this band. Every time I did I was not let down in any way.
Mrs. Glass-The White Horse-SXSW
Now how can three grown men sit down for an entire set, yet jam so fucking hard that they inspire their crowd to move, dance, mosh, and drink tons of beer? This is Mrs. Glass‘ specialty: rocking so hard they don’t have to move, instead they make you do it for ’em. The music that they play can best be described as classically trained musicians play Delta Blues turned up to 11. Jordan Webster is the type of singer you would have seen 50 years ago singing with Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr. if they were on acid. All kidding aside, the point is that Webster’s style is reminiscent of days past but is squarely footed in the modern time. Ivan Evangelista is a bassist with style as well as a flare for the dramatic side of music. He is a not only a great bass companion to Webster’s guitar he plays piano like nobody’s business. Ian Fry’s hands are very rough. I asked him why. He said it was from playing drums so often. Austin may be known as the “Music Capital of the World” (cough), but it really should be known for having the best drummers in a geographical radius. Fry is a dedicated percussionist who also plays for The Austin Symphony in his spare time. You can see Mrs. Glass play every Tuesday night at Midnight at The White Horse.
Meshuggah-Emo’s May 1st, 2012
In the metal world, if you work real hard and you eat all your Wheaties, when you grow up you just might become as good as Messhugah. What truly sets the band aside from any metal band is simple; They are the best. They have the best timing, rhythms, patterns, vocalization, and drumming. Their dedication to quality recordings and videos has never been surpassed. They also have a dedicated fanbase that is huuuuuge. They come from a history of hard rocking determination. No other metal band has my respect the same way. Some people like chocolate after dinner. Some people fool around to get their thrills. For me and many people like me, my pleasure is metal. Pure and simple. Let’s define pure. Pure is when someone plays an instrument as if they had no other choice, but to breathe their dying breath instead. And when they do play, they practice until their minds bleed, not from pain, but from pure unagonizing relief. Meshuggah is that good. Simple can be defined as: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and repeat accordingly in the correct pattern, thereof. This is elemental metal 101. Got it straight? It’s OK. In some cases, it really does take a lifetime to learn “simple” math. Thankfully we have Meshuggah to light the way.
Jens Kidman – Vocals
Fredrik Thordendal – Guitars
Mårten Hagström – Guitars
Tomas Haake – Drums
Dick Lövgren – Bass
Sourvein-The Beauty Ballroom-October 18th, 2012
What a beautiful surprise it is when you get to a show early and learn about a band that was not currently on your radar. Sourvein was touring with Weedeater and St. Vitus. I went to the show thinking Weedeater and St. Vitus were playing. Ok, folks: did I mention that I have a day job, too? Don’t hate. So there I am taking pics and jamming, but when I look around there are only six people plus, crew, staff, and other bands playing the show later present. I get to thinking ‘what the hell? Who does not come out to see Weedeater play on a Thursday night?’ It’s that much more surprising to find out, “Hey, this is Sourvein!” Someone asked me: “Isn’t there a chick in this band?” Nope, not anymore. Just T-Roy, JC Fari, and family, keeping it real. Cape Fear, North Carolina meets NOLA. Sabbath meets Robert Johnson, but sweeter, harder and original in it’s own essence. Sourvein surprised me in more then one way.
Dave “Dixie” Collins – vocals/bass
Dave Shepherd – guitar
Keith Kirkum – drums
Dixie is a trip in a good way. He is enigmatic, energized and on fire. He is southern charm on “11”. And when he sings, absolutely no shits will be given. He will entertain. Dave Shepherd is focused and quieter than his bandmate Dixie. His riffs are powerful, simple, and yet soulful in complexity. Keith Kirkum was not feeling well, so most of the show was played by guests. First a member of the road crew tuned it up and jammed and then Henry Vasquez of Saint Vitus filled in for a few songs. It was very classic rock meets modern stoner sludge with a twist…that twist was Henry. Oh, he can play the drums.
The Hookers-Beerland-December 9th, 2012
The Rock n’ Roll Outlaw – Vocals
Stoney Tombs – Guitar
Randy Romance – Guitar
Juan Badmutha – Bass
Russia – Drums
What can I say? Whenever you see a band that has 15 plus previous members you know that they got the juice plugged right in. 15 previous members, 5 current members. Along the way the streams were crossed. This band has so much energy. How else were they created? Them streams. They call themselves Heavy Metal Thunder From Kentucky. More like, Metal meets Punk AND Your Momma in a Back Alley and a New Form of Crazy Ass Music is Born. No midgets were involved. At least none that got harmed.This is what I think of when I hear their music. Maybe you get something completely different from it. I doubt it, but that is what the comments section is for. Bring it. All I really know is this show was very fucking entertaining. All Hail BEERLAND!
We are at the end of Liveshots year in Review-2012. And all I can think of is who did I leave out? Sabbath Crowe, Red Dirt Rebellion, Robert Alan Caldwell, Lions of Tsavo….wait…I got one good pic…
Such great hard rock is being played here in Austin, Texas soon to be circa 2013. I would like to say get your ass down here and see a show. I would also like to remind you to take your ass back on home. Go. Do not stay. We hate you. But while you are a guest in our town, you are King, Queen, or Princess Metal. Whoever you wanna be. Just be loud as fuck, but properly mixed, too. That’s always nice.