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Room 710
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the applicators at 710 photo by larry stern

Eastside Suicides’ Last Show Ever photo by larry stern

Eastside Suicides’ Last Show Ever
December 20th

If only we had known this would be the final Eastside Suicides show, we might’ve made it the 710’s last punk rock show ever. The place needed a permanent scar to mark their passing, but the only physical evidence is some fading blood stains on the stage leaked from a gash on Frankie’s arm. Yelping and squirming around on broken glass in spray-painted T-shirts and leather pants, the lanky, bleach blonde frontman is frequently compared to the Germs’ Darby Crash, who Kim Fowley claimed as the King of L.A.’s larval punk rock scene long before Frankie had even taken his first toke.

Comprised of beloved Blue Flamingo all-stars from the Reclusives and the Chumps and including fabulous Fast Tammy Loose, the Eastside Suicides hit during Red River’s transformation into the healthy scene it is today.

Maybe almost midway through their respectable four-year lifespan, tempermental bassist Andy Martin was replaced by ex-Hatchback BJ, and it’s he who appears on the long overdue full length recording for local label, Super Secret. Without the drama, the band loosened up and zeroed in on writing better songs.

They were featured twice in the Austin-American Statesman when the White Stripes fucking exploded and suddenly everyone wanted to find out about “garage rock.” Close inspection might uncover songwriting equally as inspired by the uptown pathos of Bob Dylan as the downtown grit of Johnny Thunders. Frankie drew outrageous lyrics from the spiritual ghetto of drug abuse, sexual frustration and personal injury and captured the nicotine-stained hearts and minds of a growing number of button-covered rockers at home and on the road.

“Pink Personality,” “Black Leather Boots” and “Tell Me” stand up as classics as much as anything to come out of Texas in the past fifteen years. They were the justification I used for doing a local radio show and writing about rock and roll, but the Eastside Suicides also helped the scene grow up a little, and down on the street these days it looks like we’re heading for art school.

–Dave Roybal

Maelstrom / Show Me On The Doll

Maelstrom is a new Scandinavian-influenced metal band I’ve been waiting to see. They’d crashed onto the bill too late to be listed, but a phone call from guitarist Caleb Pruitt prodded me out the door for the early show. They came off tight, with guitar sound in the static-mush realm. They are METAL from the black side, somewhat melodic, dour and doomy, taking inspiration from bands like Dissection, At The Gates, and Naglfar. Self-described ex-punk-rock kids, Caleb and co-guitarist Westbrook played together previously in Like Flies On Flesh. C-Vok on bass was ultra cool, and drummer Mike Melnick pulled off the “2nd live show of his life” without dropping a hint to his alleged inexperience.
For the opening slot, they brought in a good crowd – extreme radical types who were there for the metal, obviously, because the following act cleared them out of the room.
Maelstrom only got to play two songs (granted they were each ten minutes long) before they had to make way for the goofy 2nd band. Then it was a bleak half-hour wait for the third band to get it up (time that should have been spent on a full set from Maelstrom), but the sickness to come turned out to be worth the wait --
Show Me On The Doll would be “our competition for the night,” Caleb warned, “cuz of their drummer, Mark” (ex Death of Millions). No lie, he was a slayer. The rest of the Doll was dolled up in a well-coordinated flagrant anti-Christian/Catholic fashion theme: the vocalist wore nothing but a nun’s habit, black panties and garter-stockings, sandwiched by a sort of Catholic-school-girl’s outfit and a priest wearing the biggest upside-down cross ever to hang in the South. Oh, and the death face paint… you could call these guys gory slutty death metal. Awesome goofy variety in the vocal dept. - no real singing, just barking and blood-draining screeches. Amazing drummer. Highly entertaining. Total retards. This band is extremely evil and they rule. Hail Satan!

-- Bek Sabbath

Missionary / Abigail and Hansel / Baby Robots / Devil Bat
Room 710, Mon. Dec 22nd

Ahh, the smell of misunderstanding. Nearly every musician on stage this evening (except King Coffey, tonight drumming for Abigail and Hansel) has been an integral if unknown and unappreciated part of the Austin music scene for any number of years. Former members of outfits as varied as species of fern. Girl Robots (no relation to Baby Robots, but wouldn’t it have made sense, somehow?), ST-37, and Roky Erickson’s Evil Hook were just a few of the bands represented here, on an evening where more than one formerly meandering outfit finally found themselves rooted in rock and roll soil.
Missionary started off the evening with an art-punk slap and tickle, coming off to a disturbing degree like the Swell Maps with a twitchy cello.
Abigail and Hansel, consisting of former members of Olive among others, made the longest stride to gain rock-solid footing. Recruiting a full band was the best move Joel and Michelle could have made. AND, King is exceedingly fun to watch while he’s pounding the crap out of a drum kit.
Baby Robots: Love and Rockets in a blender (comic or band, take your pick).
What can one say about the Devil Bat? The second husband/wife team to hit the stage this evening, the Bat have gone from being an almost unlistenable two-piece (sorry Dave and LeeAnn, don’t throw me out of the Sac) to a seriously rocking band. You thought Dave was an amazing drummer? You should see him play guitar.

Seriously. –Trevor Wallace

Gibby Haynes & His Problem
Room 710, January 3rd

So I’ve lived in Texas for the past eight years and still have not seen the Butthole Surfers play live. I’ve had the opportunities, I just never made it to their limited amount of shows here in Austin. Now Gibby has a new project since the Surfers are on a hiatus. Gibby’s new band includes an all-star lineup of Shandon Sahm on drums, Kyle Ellison on guitar, and Nathan Calhoun on guitar and sometimes y, I mean bass. Looking like a computer nerd, Haynes led his new band through over an hour-long set of psychedelic vocal aural swirlies set atop solid pop music. The images projected onto the back of the stage added a visual element to an already almost overbearing palette. Simple hooks and melodies from the band and backup sequencers made Haynes’ vox twiddling easier to handle and not so overwhelming as when some psychedelic bands play completely different parts while their frontman goes crazy with the vocal cheezwhiz.
The place was packed that night as it will be when a local hero comes to play. It took me half the set to make my way up to the front, I guess a lot of people must have left after they got the gist of what was going on. I enjoyed GH&HP’s set, but can see why some have called the new band boring. There are only so many times you can put a delay and pitch shifted vocal wail over some nice pop tune and call it exciting.

-Texatronic

Pink Swords
Room 710

If you have never seen these guys then you are fuckin stupid!

So here's the deal, I am not a musician and I have no clue as to any technical ability about any band I review. Plus I have never been one of those people that can tell you about every band they have ever heard, let alone all the records made or the names of every one in the band. But I do know what I like! And I liked the Pink Swords.

When categorizing the music I listen to, it is my explicit wish to stay stuck in time...about 15 to 20 years ago.

The Pink Swords pull together all the shit that rocks, from punk to thrash, hardcore to metal, and still have their own sound. Everything was clean sounding. These guys have got their shit together, and a sound that rocks. Screamin’ energy, in your face, fast, furious, and wound up like the Tasmanian devil, Pitts puts on a show! And if you see ‘em in a joint like Headhunters you will get this full frontal experience eyeball to eyeball. For the sake of keeping this a shorty… the rest of the guys have every bit as much energy and stiff dick rockin’ attitudes. They play their shit like it’s time to rape, pillage and plunder (no mercy for the weak). And this is a good thing!!!

-- Johnny “Doc” Mac

spiders photo by sternSpiders/Tia Carrera/The Real Heros/Scott “Hospital” Biram
Room 710, Wednesday December 31st

I chose to spend New Years Eve rocking in the New Year at good ol’ Room 710 with some of my favorite musical acts and fellow Rank and Revue wankers. I left the House of Rock around 9:30pm, easily scoring a parking spot three blocks from my destination. Scott Biram was already playing as I gained entrance from Dylan the doorman. Freshly out of the hospital, Biram seemed in regular form as he stomped and picked his way through his lo-fi bluesy country punk. The Real Heros took the stage after Biram, and rocked the stage with their pseudo glam rock playing one of my AMN favorites “Don’t Turn Twenty-six.” Tia Carrera was up next. The last time I saw them was when they were a three piece and this time around they had Ezra (the bassist from the Free Range Bastards and keyboardist for WC Clark) tickling the keyboard ivories. I think TC might have had four breaks in between at least ten-minute-long hot fluid metal improvisations. Eric Conn, drummer extraodinaire, kept the psychedelic beat nearly flawless as Jason Morales led the way on his axe. Another fine ear-abusing set by TC. The next band, one of my new favorite bands of 2003, The Spiders took the stage and rocked the damn house down as only this quirky band can. Chris Benedict jumped and gyrated on stage like a true rock nut while the band stayed rock steady behind him. Always a good show, and this time I did jump up and scream an obscenity.

- James E

Jacket Walker/ Speedoader/ Shiv
Room 710, 1.01.04

Probably the toughest night of the year to bring rock to the table. Upon arriving to the club a little too early, it was obvious in the eyes of the few that were there (most of which were about to play) that there was an extremely high level of debauchery the night before. But surprisingly each band stepped up, held it in, and went for it, like it was the best show they would ever play.

First up was Jacket Walker, a local new to the scene in this format. The band is made up of Curt (bass/Dixie Witch), Russell (lead singer/guitar play) and Tim (drummer), both from Superheavy Goat Ass. Tough, heavy, mid-tempo riff-rock, and southern style with enough changes to keep you on your toes. However, it was a bit too short of a set due to time restraints. Speedloader followed with an even shorter set. Heavy, drop-tuned, noise rock. Originally hailing from NYC, but now transplanted to Austin. They were much in the vein of Amphetamine Reptile/Trance bands…but with attitude.

Activator had a longer set. I have no idea why. But they were way too much like Kyuss. However, an impressive vocalist and stacked Marshall amps, blended the riffs and rock into a nice package.

Shiv was an excellent treat. Heavy, big chords, tight riffs and an apparent fuck-all attitude. With this line up there was no way for this band to go wrong. Especially with members of Gahdzilla Motor Company, HeKill Three, and Transfixer. It was a low, big, angry, quick-tempo punch to the face. With blazing solos ready to rip your skin off with the sharpest of scalpels, supplied by local hero Chris Connely (GMC), they tore the shit up. They were akin to the likes of Converge or other Escape Artist bands. Look for these guys in the future.
All in all, nothing but pure hot sauce to the eyes rock…Despite the moderate turn out.

Damien 2

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