Photos by Larry
Stern, a few by Beth Been
08/20/11 @ Red 7, Austin, TX
hot was it on August 20th, 2011 at 10 p.m. in Austin, Texas? Hot
enough that I had to stop at three separate bars to grab cold brews
to avoid heat exhaustion on my two block walk down Red River Street
from the AMP headquarters. It was nearly 100 degrees. Anyway, I
stroll into Red 7 sweating bullets just as Dixie Witch, formed in
1999 and still heralded as the hard rock stoner gods of ATX, were
about to hit the stage as main support for legendary doom rockers
super stoked to be at this show as there have been a lot of special
things happening in the Dixie Witch camp over the last several months.
Still making up one of the most thunderous rhythm sections in town
are original members Curt Christenson (bass/vocals) and Trinidad
Leal (Drums/vocals). Both of whom split lead vocal duties throughout
the albums and shows.
Smith - photo by Larry Stern
those of you who don’t know, Trinidad Leal is to drums like
Zeus is to Greek Mythology. Not many people punish a drum set like
Mr. Leal. Judging by the way Curt "I refuse to wear shoes onstage."
Christenson works a bass, he may be Bootsy Collin’s little
brother from another mother. You would be hard pressed to find anyone
in this town who doesn’t agree that he has the golden touch
on the bass. In 2009, founding member, Clayton Mills (guitar), left
the band after 10 years and was replaced by J.T. Smith (The Drunks/Blood
Royale). While it was a bummer to see Clayton call it a day, they
couldn’t have found a more fitting replacement. Smith is armed
with the maniac guitar skills of Ted Nugent, the punk rock attitude
of Dr. Know and a high-flying rocker-kick that might give David
Lee Roth a run for his money. Mega-stage-super-star-energy. Which
leads me to my next point…guess who has a new record that’s
just about to hit the streets? Earlier in the summer, Dixie Witch
flew out to Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts to work with
engineer/producer Benny Grotto on their new LP, Let It Roll
(2011, Small Stone Records) , a follow-up to their 2006 release,
Smoke and Mirrors (Small Stone Records). While I don’t
actually have a street date handy, I know the new record is coming
out in the next few weeks. I saw the first rave review of the record
last night while I was having beers with J.T. and discussing the
band’s upcoming October European Tour . This marks the first
time the band has taken it’s show across the big pond. In
April of 2010, the band was set to do a two week trek in Europe
which included a stop at Holland’s annual Roadburn Festival.
However, the band was forced to cancel the tour when volcanic ash
from Iceland clouded the sky high over the Atlantic and all transatlantic
flights were cancelled. I don’t know that I have ever seen
a band more heartbroken. If this was an episode of MTV’s "Behind
the Music", it was clearly the "And Then Tragedy Struck"
moment. This time it may take more than a volcano to slow the machine
down. They will be out in Europe with Small Stone label mates, Sasquatch
and Roadsaw. So far, I have seen dates in UK, Germany, Belgium,
and the Netherlands, but I’m sure more countries will be added
show kicked off with the title track off of the new record, "Let
It Roll". Pure ass kicking rock fury right out of the starting
gates. Dixie Witch has a reputation for producing massive amounts
of volume for a three-piece and this night was no exception. Curt
had his 70's Fender P-bass blasting through an early 70's Ampeg
SVT head powering two Ampeg 8×10 cabinets. On the other side
of the stage, J.T. was rocking his Black Gibson V 90 through two
100 watt vintage 1973 Marshall Super Lead heads pegged on 10 powering
multiple 4×12 cabinets. It was so loud, the universal hand
gesture for "hey, pass that over here" would have to suffice
for crowd members for the next 40 minutes . After pummeling their
way through the opener, the band quickly followed up with "Red
Song" and "Saving Grace", two more songs from the
new record, Let It Roll (2011, Small Stone Records) .
Christenson (left) and Trinidad Leal (right) - photo by Larry Stern
songs nicely garnished with that staple Dixie Witch southern stoner
rock swagger. The fourth song of the set was the only "oldie"
of the evening. The band slowed things down a bit and broke into
the uber-heavy Sabbath-esque "Ballinger Cross" from the
2006 release, Smoke and Mirrors (Small Stone Records).
At that point, the band completed their set smashing through four
more new songs, "Automatic Lady", "Anthem" (dedicated
by Trinidad Leal to Wino from St. Vitus who was standing stage side
with his jaw on the the floor), "Boogieman", and "
The High Deal".
does 90 percent of a band’s set consist of unreleased songs
and spawn the overwhelming energetic response that Dixie Witch received
from the crowd on this particular evening. Kudos to Trinidad, Kurt,
and J.T. for pulling the rabbit out of their hat.
to the title track "Let It Roll" from the new album
by Jerry Milton
music moves the flesh on your face. Rearranging sound patterns as
it hits the ears. Changing standard rhythm into fits of shock that
sates noise and forces energy to shift around you. Totimoshi is
the smack of the soul. The best part is, all you have to do is listen
and no one gets hurt.
bands 5th album, Avenger is a refreshing force to contend with.
It has a full, tight sound. It is refreshing not only because it
brings the rock, it has an excellent recording quality. The songs
flow together, starting with the aptly titled, Intro, moving through
ten songs of a simple sludge like substance that at times blows
you away and other times, moves you even further. You can buy it
at Amazon.com for 8.99. Listen to it a few times in a row. You'll
hear something new every time that is genius as well as simple,
funny, and entertaining as hell.
such a huge sound, it is amazing that they are a three person band.
Totimoshi is Tony Aguilar guitar/vocal, Meg Castellanos bass, and
Chris Fugitt drums.
Kasai produced, John Golden mastered, distributed by At A Loss Records,
with special guests, Dale Crover (Melvins-melt your face), Brent
Hinds (Mastodon-melt your face), and Scott Kelly (Nuerosis and all
around face melter). Avengers is a collaborative work of rock n
On Wednesday August 31, they played at the historic Scoot Inn-Eastside
Austin, Texas, supported by locals Watching the Moon. Also in attendance
were New Yorkers; Pygmy Shrews, and VAZ with members of Hammerhead.
Calling All Curs
Dance of Snakes
plays the drums like he is the devil beating his wife. Meg is a
fine woman who plays the bass so soothingly, but with the force
that backs the rhythm. Tony, friend to all, sings not like a bird,
more like a strong man who once made cheese for a living, tours
a lot, and plays a pretty decent guitar, too.
at the Scoot Inn playing their latest release Avengers made for
a refreshing cool night after a long hot summer.
authors, athletes, composers, former hostages, philanthropists,
and even young Anakin Skywalker are from Ft. Collins, Colorado.
It is also the home of great microbrews and Derek Vincent Smith,
a.k.a Pretty Lights.
emergence of the single musician band, alone on the stage, has been
a phenom of late in the Austin music scene. Artists like Scott H.
Biram and Konrad Wert of Possessed by Paul James, perform to the
masses, creating a full sound, amazing the crowd, leaving the audience
to ask; How did one guy make all that sound AND rock our balls off?
Derek Vincent Smith is all this on steroids, acid, coke, and lots
and lots of groove. He aptly named his band; Pretty Lights.
Pretty Lights at the Austin City Limits Preshow on September 15th,
2011 at the Austin Music Hall, can best be described as "Fuck
me. It moved". He performed upwards of 20 songs. It was a sold
out, packed house of people all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Pretty Light's music is DJ trance electronica trace sampling house
rock n roll soul old school hip hop light show extraordinaire. Sound
interesting? Now amp it up. No...no...no... AMP a little bit MORE!
Now close your eyes. There is no need to imagine a damn thing. The
music. The lights. They are the ride. And Fuck YEAH! It takes you
away. Now open your eyes. Look around you. The place has exploded.
Everythefuckone is moving. Girls are dancing with girls. Dudes are
dancing...near other dudes. And dancing? Allow me to define it:
moving to the sounds of a modern age in a motion that doesn't matter.
The sweat dripping from your body reminds you that are a human not
a machine (irony?)
have all heard good rap, good rock, good hip hop. Pretty Lights
is special. It is a complete modern sound and light experience as
defined by Derek Vincent Smith...and crew...aka Pretty Lights.
just start this show review off with what everyone really wants
to hear. How are the Go-Go’s holding up after 5 decades of
cruisin’ down a rock n’ roll highway full of twists,
turns, bumps and bounds? My answer: Every bit as good and probably
better than any band I have seen lately that has been doing it that
long at that level. And yes, the bare-footed Belinda Carlisle still
has the looks that kill. Hugh Hefner didn’t ask her to pose
for Playboy in 2001 because the Go-Go’s were the most frequently
played band on his iPod. She still sounds every bit as good as she
did when the band shared a rehearsal space in Los Angeles with "X"
back in 1978. This was just a few years after she started her career
playing drums in a punk band called "The Germs". Anyway,
this isn’t a history lesson, enough of the trivial punk rock
This was the
final night of their tour marked to celebrate the 30th anniversary
of the bands first LP, Beauty and The Beat (IRS Records,
1981). The tour featured the classic Go-Go’s lineup of Belinda
Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (rhythm guitar/backing vocals),
Charlotte Caffey (lead guitar/keyboard/backing vocals, Kathy Valentine
(bass/backing vocals/local Austin girl), and Gina Schock (drums).
Caffey was armed
with a Fender Jazzmaster through some stomp boxes direct and over
two a Vox AC30 and Fender Twin. Both were miked and ran in stereo
through the front of the house. Wiedlin opted for a few different
Gibson SG’s, each housing a single P-90. Unlike Caffey, Wiedlin
ran a wireless set up through a Vox AC/30 and another combo which
I have never seen before. Her rig was also run in stereo and panned
hard through the front of the house. Kathy Valentine rocked the
traditional Fender Precision bass, as well as her Custom Tele Bass
(a gift from Billy Gibbons) through an Ampeg SVT Classic powering
an Ampeg 8×10. It was rumored she was running her bass through
a Big Muff, but I wasn’t close enough to see or smell muff.
From the time
the set started, asses were shaking from the front of the theatre
to the back wall of the balcony. While the Paramount is an amazing
venue historically and structurally, I’m not sure theatre-style
seating really worked out for everyone. The people who were standing
had very limited room to dance and the 70 year-old’s sitting
behind them couldn’t see anything. I personally could’ve
used about 40 to 50 more decibels in the overall house mix. The
Go-Go’s broke out all the big guns and rocked through 18 songs
in true L.A. fashion. While this was the final night of the tour,
the band had tremendous amount of energy and could have passed it
off as the first night of the tour. One unexpected moment came as
the band busted a revved up version of Belinda Carlisle’s
solo hit, "Mad About You". In trademark Go-Go’s
fashion, crowd members were brought onstage to dance along as the
band screamed through a cover version of "Cool Jerk".
Photo by Mark
Brown @ DigitaLegacy
Along with the
big hits like "Our Lips are Sealed", and "We Got
the Beat", they played an additional five tracks from the celebrated
Beauty and The Beat lp (I.R.S Records, 1981). The rest
of the cupcake was iced with hits from Vacation (I.R.S.
Records, 1982), Talk Show (I.R.S. Records, 1984), Return to the
Valley of the Go-Go’s (I.R.S. Records, 1994), and God Bless
the Go-Go’s (Beyond Records, 2001). See full setlist below.
I also have
to give a shout out to the show’s main support act, Girl
In Coma hailing from San Antonio and signed to Joan Jett’s
Blackheart Records’ label. Go check them out if they are rockin’
in your neighborhood.
How Much More
Get Up and Go
Mad About You (Belinda Carlisle)
Lust to Love
Mother’s Little Helper (Rolling Stones Cover) Automatic
Cool Jerk (The Capitols cover)
Cool Places (Sparks cover)
Our Lips Are Sealed
Skidmarks on My Heart
We Got the Beat
Fun With Ropes
Head Over Heels
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