Dave Attell
The Backyard, September 13, 2003

Dave Attell, star and host of Comedy Central’s ‘Insomniac’ is no stranger to Austin. You may have seen the Austin episode where he implied that the staff of Club Deville actually works at The Boyz Cellar and slapped some roller-derby-ass. He’s basically got my dream job; traveling, getting drunk all night, and fucking with people. He just kicked off a three-month stand-up tour with fellow comedians, Lewis Black of the Daily Show and Mitch Hedberg.

He began the show by informing us that most people think he’s a fat bald pedophile who lives in his mom’s basement. Next, he pointed out that the benefit of shagging a horse is that you always have a ride home. He’s had a good point. I particularly enjoyed his bit about how all the great writers are drunks. He listed Judy Blume right along side with Hemingway and then pondered about all the great pothead writers, who might come out with such classics as, “The Lamp is Trying to Kill Me.” Dave began to chat about vibrators and how women can replace men so easily nowadays with all the new turbo hi-tech devices. Dave then asked, “Will a vibrator hold you afterwards? Will a vibrator promise to stop drinking and get a job?” I actually spit out my beer laughing at that comment.

If you missed the show; I feel bad for you. Tour dates and tickets are available on Comedy Central’s web site. You can catch Dave on ‘Insomniac’ Thursday nights on Comedy Central at 9 PM.

-Joelle Bart

Damnations Tx
Hole in the Wall, September 12, 2003

The Man in Black, the Lord Goth Emperor of country has shuffled off this mortal coil. And the angels wore dark velvet and wept tears of blood. All literary pretensions aside, Johnny Cash went and died on us, right on the heels of Warren Zevon, a man who illustrated a phenomenal strength of character in his waning days.

Where to go to celebrate the lives of these two artists (and let’s not forget that wealth of pop culture trivia, John Ritter)? For a shit-stomping good time of a wake, where better than the Hole in the Wall, the Damnations’ Tx home base. The mood was somber but not melancholy, a drunken and heartfelt memoriam the recently departed.

The show opened with a solo set by a friend of both the bar and the band, who shall remain nameless for legal reasons. A mixture of original material, Elvis Costello and a heart-stopping rendition of “Werewolves of London,” the songster providing an uplifting and cathartic set.

The Damnations, sporting a new drummer, played a moving and goddamned fun set, switching from honky-tonk to the blues to straight ahead bar rock as seamlessly as the heavens are stable. The full band rendition of “Werewolves”, with Amy Boone on piano (who knew?) and the solo act again on lead vocals was a fitting tribute to both past musicians, the phrase “because you’re mine/I walk the line” thrown in and hitting dead center. Good and whiskey drunk, the crowd responded with more “whoo-hoos!” than a gay rodeo. There were even a couple of drunken attempts at the Three’s Company theme song. Thankfully, they never made it past “come and knock on my door”.

A great night. May these three men find the same happiness in the next world that they so selflessly gave to this one.

-Trevor Wallace

Krum Bums/Lower Class Brats
Flamingo Cantina, September 9, 2003

Wow. Tuesday night at the irie Flamingo Cantina turned into one huge pit-pile of fist-pumping mohawks drenched in Lonestar and the perspiration of local punk guardians the Krum Bums and Lower Class Brats. The music that evening was splendid--the kind of guady, tasteless noise that finger-bangs your little sister and shits on your mother’s face at the same time. This, ladies and gentleman, is punk rock.
The Krums took the stage with stick-em-up bandanas over their faces and began playing a suspenseful western ditty that quickly unfolded into a meth-driven barrage of bloody-your-nose bedlam. Seriously, these guys lit a fire under the asses of all Cantina patrons from the get-go. Frontman Nikki Sicki boasts a rasp and rant within his haunting screech that is reminiscent of the late Sam Kinison, that is if the hilarious comedian immerged from the pits of hell looking to terrorize children and peel the flesh from your bones. The five-piece played a tight set, complete with call and response anthems and plenty of Lonestar beer donations whether you preferred the shower or not. The sea of scum that make up this city’s punk scene didn’t seem to mind and neither did I.
The Brats took the stage and picked up right where their punk-as-fuck cohorts left off. Lead singer Bones grabbed the mic and proclaimed, “we’re the Lower Class Brats…so fuck-off.’’ The four piece then ripped through a crisp set, delivering their brand of rock, which to me drew slight comparisons to the gritty, landmark sounds of Social Distortion. The band played crowd favorites “Standard Issue’’ and “Tear The Heads Off Barbie Dolls,’’ complete with head-jerking “ois’’ and swarming guitar shreds. “What do you want from me, blood? ‘Cuz I’ll give it,’’ threatened a grinning Bones right before taking a nose-dive into the rancid, beer coated moshpit.
The punk scene is alive and well folks--you know who you are. Powder-pop posers beware!!! Bravo kids.

Stoked-the Rise and Fall of Gator, directed by Helen Stickler

So I went to a single, $9.75 movie in LA.
Z Boys showed us the seeds: the street carve, Tony Alva’s board popping out of the pool. In the next chapter, “Stoked”, we are shown the fruits (ripe and rotten) that the vert skaters late-grabbed in mid flight.
This movie has a parallel that screenwriter’s would suck dick for.
Gator’s rise into the upper crust of the vert pros and his violent, holy demise is run side to side with the plight of the late 80’s vert boom and its eventual skidding halt as the boards hit the streets.
Detailed by his own voice through cryptic collect calls from prison, are Gator’s successes as a Vision pro and his trip into Sobriety, Christianity, and bloody murder.
The movie is as fun to watch as it is a constant reminder of the darkest we can get. From anecdotes about Gator from the mouths of Hawk, Caballero, Lance Mtn., Craig Johnson, and Mofo, the story unfolds of how one of the industry’s best goes “deep end” and “hangs up” on his own hubris.
There’s footage from Del Mar contests, home vids by Hawk that make the skater in you forget you’re watching a documentary about a ripper and a killer. And the luminescent crime fotos do their own objective story telling as well.
“Stoked” is an awesome documentary, telling at once the story of an individual and how hitting the streets left the vert skaters in the cold breeze of a 9ft. method air.

Sunn/Easy Action
Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA., September 3, 2003

Danzig’s house is on Franklin St. Everyday I pass this place waiting to see the man out in his gym shorts weed whacking the lawn. The house itself is so Danzig: wrought-iron spiky fence, decrepit, sagging roof, high golden weeds, and ivy growing over half the house. Not so Danzig is the black Jag coupe in the drive.
I concocted a scheme to roust the dark hero: drive by shoutings, all Misfits lyrics, all hours.
Imagine Danzig chilling out, watching “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” when all of a sudden thru his window in full Doppler effect “WE ARE 138!!!” with a honking horn for rhythm. The next day, while drinking coffee, reading the Weekly, “HORROR BUSINESS 1-2!!!”. At this point he’s got the joke, but to a distant Misfits fan, the game has just begun.
Slower this time, in traffic, you’re given the right amount of time to scream in broken lungfuls “LIT-TLE-AN-GEL-FUCK!!!”
Forget the right to privacy, LA is a veritable toy box of celebrity run-ins and pranking: cuz’ you gotta have goals.

At Spaceland, down in Silverlake, the Detroit gang, Easy Action came to draw out their own celebs and they reeled in Dave Grohl. No surprise really, given John Brannon’s street creds. (He fronted Negative Step and the Laughing Hyenas.)

This was my first time to see Easy Action and I gotta say this band was “smile-to-my-face-good”. Easy Action was easy access. By the time the set was done I had dubbed them “garage core”. J.B.’s band was an excellent fusion of the real rock-n-roll aspects of the Oblivians, Seattle’s Reatards, and some Tim Kerr groove mixed up with the simple power chord, half steppin’ frettin’ of hardcore. Brannon was a genuine wild front man. Seemingly wasted, he maintained like a hard-drinking front man has to. I heard a lot of bands in their music. With Brannon’s history it was no surprise to think of Monster Magnet, Tight Bros., Unsane, and Jon Spencer’s Blues Manipulation. I was glad to have no red flags to fly up during their set. They rocked their last four with Negative Approach songs: Dead Stop, Nowhere, Nothing, and Tied down.
I cited them for a minor “Mrs. Demeanor” for ripping off Alice Cooper’s album name, but in a scene rampant for claim jumping, it ain’t nuthin’ really.

Sunn0))) is a guitar duet named after Sunn amps. They’ve built a fan base by playing in the style of Dylan Carlson’s EARTH. In this case though, SUNN is a satellite of EARTH. I counted six Sunn amps and cabs that eclipsed the sound guy’s job for the night. Picking up where EARTH left off, Sunn is more a tribute to EARTH, which they were billed as last March for SXSW.

It’s as if Sunn is carrying on Dylan Carlson’s ideas to a public that caught on too late to catch the original. Still, these guys are a spectacle and a half. Playing in a style which tests distortion’s ability to pacify, the images to describe them are as planetary as the name itself: the sound of solar flares, the hum of Gaia herself, the tectonic grind, the deafening sound of orbiting the moon. This set made jokes of my earplugs. The stage was adorned in prayer candles, with smoke emanating from between the cabinets. The two long hairs came out in canvas Druidian robes with long-tailed purple hoods and posed dramatically in front of the amps. The set began in a high string loop, like a good black metal intro, then dawned and set in a 35-minute arc, which displayed what I call the “EARTH progression”. Tuned in dropped “D”, the “E.P.” is a test of minimal chord changes. The skill is choosing the notes that will make that “D” resonate from the dome to the toes. EARTH did this first. Sunn shuffles the cards a bit but all trails lead back to the big “D” in its metal mammoth resolve. As I stood next to Dave Grohl I couldn’t help but to think that the set needed drums. I also wondered what he thought of the obvious allusions to a North West band that pressed the same buttons as the experimental Melvins stuff and later the Thrones. Sunn makes no statement as to originality. Like the myth of Zeus, Sunn pops from Dylan Carlson’s head to keep alive the myth of Stonehenge rock.

-Kevin Stack


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