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Off-Sides

Kissinger
Red Eyed Fly, September 6, 2003

Local pop gods and AMN staples Kissinger took a break from playing back in May to write and record some new songs. Fortunately, in that time off they kept their ass-kicking lineup of Chopper (vocals, guitar), Steve Garvey (guitar), Lucky (bass) and O3 (drums), and brought it out last night at the Fly.

Nestled among the short setlist were two of their new numbers, Certain Girls and Sister Vikki (about a prostitute from Prague.) During the hiatus the band lost none of their characteristic energy and dished it out for the revved up audience.

After the show I was able to catch up with Lucky and get the scoop on what’s been going on and what’s coming up.

Lucky Interview:

Rank & Revue - So how did Kissinger spend the time off?

Lucky - We rehearsed and recorded eleven new songs, six of which we made into a demo with the idea of shopping it to labels and booking agents. We are unsigned and have no booking agent other than ourselves and no team member other than our manager.

R&R - How did you feel about tonight’s show?

Lucky - I felt really good about it. We played a really short set, because we like to leave people wanting more rather than giving them too much. I felt like we played well and the crowd was great. It was fun and I’m glad to be playing shows again. We tried to not get too crazy this time since we haven’t played in so long, but when we got onstage 90% of that just went out the window.

R&R - Some of the older songs seemed to have been reworked with more noise thrown in.

Lucky - I think that’s just a byproduct of beer and having a bunch of people having a good time. We left those songs alone all summer because we were working on eleven new songs.

R&R - What’s next?

We have another show this month in San Marcos and one more in town in October. Then we are going to start practicing for our Midwest tour which we leave for on the 15th and play through the 29th. It’s going to be another I-35 tour.

-C. Iago

Son Of Joe/Friends Of Lizzy
Red Eye Fly, August 26, 2003

I hate to be quaint and straightforward, but my sense of live music appreciation was covered with blankets of boredom on Tuesday. The service and company at the Red Eye was top-notch and stimulating as always, while the actual show fell at little short of entertaining. The sound was sub-par, complete with recycled pop rock and a pair of bands that sounded exactly the same.

Friends Of Lizzy drew a sizeable crowd and received plenty of applause and “wooos’’ after each tune. The four piece was animated and really into their own music-I however was not. The melodic, shoe-gazer rock bursting from the amps didn’t wet my whistle one bit. The vocals were inaudible and flat while the repetition of pop-sensible hooks caused me to zone out and read every inch of my Lone Star can. Ever been there folks? Next, the band did a Weezer cover (I don’t advise this at all-a true Rock ‘n Roll Don’t, and I think Wendy would agree). I contemplated leaving in search of anything new and refreshing for my ears. Something with balls. Thankfully, the group closed the set with a bundle of neo-garage riffs that actually gained speed and momentum, peaked at semi-punk proportions, and made the total count of songs that rocked for the evening…one.

Son Of Joe sounded like Friends Of Lizzy, causing my brain to construct future live music nightmares of Lizzy and Joe’s friends hosting a battle of the bands for all the sons of the emo-pop, cry-baby chumps. NOOOO! I’m sorry kiddos-this is all a bit harsh, but creativity should drive all of us. That, or at least some sheer talent behind your instrument or vocals. Son Of Joe played to a small crowd and I truly felt bad for these guys. There were some bendy-guitar effects and distorted pedals on the bass, but overall the four-piece was stale, and the music was grueling. I might catch some flack for this one, but I’ve yet to attend a full show on Red River that I truly hated…until now.
-Smitty

The Edge magazine presents “The Real Texas Edge” CD release show:

Powderburn/Bud/Jolly Garogers
Red Eyed Fly, August 30, 2003

Thanks to The Edge for putting all this together. The show and the compilation CD serving up hard-n-heavy Texas bands, which they so generously doled out to the crowd. Thanks to Manny Escamilla, Powderburn’s manager, for bringing me in for the last two bands. And thanks to the Jolly Garogers pirates for goofing me up while I hid behind a tree, guarding my video camera from the small brood of thrashers who drove me away from the stage. No, thanks to them, I already had my back broken by one of those spastic sacks of bile.

First I saw Bud. Their lead-screamer ripped my face off. Then, the light show fired up as the giant pirate “Stagedive” introduced Powderburn. “There are bands... that will change the course of music. This band... is not them. There are bands that will defile the corpses of their long-dead fans. This band is them!” I held higher expectations than that for Powderburn. I’d seen them before, at the recording studios on Academy, and I was intrigued. Intrigued by their subtle breakouts of eerie guitar/strings, by their extraordinary sense of rising power, and by singer/guitarist Ken Lockman’s mischievous magnetism, his cherubic face and red whips of
hair bleeding over that face like he plowed head-first through plate glass.

What I caught of this jovial event was a good soundtrack for a pitbull fight. Powderburn and Bud are both solid contenders in this punishing, punk/death/rap-infiltrated genre some call New Metal or “Nu Metal” -- a trend currently being cloned and pimped by the corporate world, a trend over
which there has been genre-debate ad-nauseum in the Metal world. I will not try to say who/what is “Metal” (that’s Metal Ed’s job). But, I will try to explain why this sound alienates me like no other heavyweight. The original Metal Gods, from Sabbath to Metallica, didn’t rely on riff-stamping and screaming generic naughty words, because they had supreme powers of creative
articulation. Within the realm of heaviness, they expressed a complexity of emotions and created their own distinct style. This new branch of metal, the worst case of copy-catting since 80’s Glam, has devolved into a minimally-musical, painfully predictable sound expressing juvenile male
anger. Band after band pounds out the same one-chord, bullying riff that is the paradigm for the trend, which even His Retarded Highness Ozzy has finally been sucked into. The craft of song-writing has gone down the toilet.

Having clogged that toilet with my opinion on New Metal, let me plunge forth and admit my affection for Powderburn. They stand out, for one thing because they’re GROOVY - and no less heavy for it. Originality comes through in their guitar breaks and Ken Lockman’s appealing, more sincere (Nirvana-inspired?) singing tone, which adds dynamic to the great hellish yelling. Oh yeah, and ass-kick bassist Greg Enkler has awesome Metal hair. These guys are so cool they must be from the East Coast or something. My main problem with their show was that the only lyrics I could make out were “fuck, motherfucker, bitch,” and “you fuckin’ whore”. Which are words as
useful as any other, if you get the context (I’d like to check out an album; reading the lyrics might reveal what’s more to the story). I dunno, I could relate to it in the punk rock days, but all this cussin’ lately just fucking bores me.

No question, these bands rock hard as hell. Highly recommended for fans of the rap-core style. Powderburn is a rising force, a throbbing mob of talent with the power to transcend this cesspool of conformity, which is named “new metal” only to besmirch the name of Metal.

-Beky Hayes

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