Kevin Fowler
Feature by Tammy Moore
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Off the Street

Supagroup photo by danny g

Supagroup photo by stern

Emo’s, Fri., Jan. 23rd

The Gods of Rock once again smiled upon the town of Austin, Texas. On a damp and foggy night, there came a whirlwind and the sound of loud guitars - a band unlike any other had made their way from New Orleans across the USA, and finally to Texas, to grace the Lone Star State with blessings and tidings of great amplifiers. This band - this SUPAGROUP -had come with a message... to SAVE ROCK AND ROLL, as well as support their latest self-titled CD on Foodchain Records.

The mighty Supagroup blazed through a full set of new and older tunes, spreading the good word of ROCK to the hungry masses at Emo’s. From opener "Rock and Roll Tried to Ruin My Life" to closer "Back by Popular Demand" the packed crowd ate up their unrelenting stage energy. Led by the Lee brothers from Alaska, they call to mind the elder statesmen, AC/DC. Vocalist/guitarist Chris is all Bon Scott bravado and Mick Jagger swagger, while the half-man/half-Tasmanian Devil Benji rips out leads on his one-eyed SG that would make Angus Young yell "Crikey!" Add the solid bass and cowboy hat of Leif Swift and the groove-laden back beat of drummer Michael Brueggen and the result is a force to be reckoned with.

Beers were raised and the sign o’ the devil filled the air. "We’re shooting a DVD here," announced Chris. "Let’s try it again!"-- after a few tries they got the crowd to yell IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK as loud as possible, as a blast-off into "Back By Popular Demand." Supagroup will be back again, by popular demand.

-Danny G

Grupo Fantasma photo by larry sternGrupo Fantasma
Saturday, January 24

I love doin’ this stuff. How else can one get into Emo’s for free, see a class act on stage and delight in a sea of hot women on the dance floor. A neo-hippie friend of mine, Tadd B, clued me into GF a couple of years back by lending me a CD of theirs. I took it to work to listen to in the prep kitchen and the Latinos seemed to enjoy it even though it wasn’t produced on a keyboard/sequencer. The group had seven members back then, they have twelve now. Grupo Fantasma boasts a horn section consisting of tenor and alto saxes as well as trombone and trumpet, three percussionists on drum kit, timbales and bongos, two guitar players, bass, keyboardist and lead singer. They play a lot of cumbias, a particular type of Latin American rhythm that is said to have originated with chain gangs of black slaves in South and Central America, the length of the chains shackled to their ankles dictating a rhythm that was short and quick.

The large crowd at Emo’s was of the uptown type mostly with a healthy dose of hippies and other scenesters. I arrived kind of early and met Elliot, whereupon we decided to go to Casino and exchange intoxicants. With our judgement properly impaired we split and I creeped back to Emo’s and GF took the stage shortly thereafter.

From the first song, most of the abundant female element of the crowd was dancing. Grupo Fantasma is all about groove, specifically grooves that are geared to get hips swaying and swinging. Yeah. The three drummers work flawlessly together creating a groove so deep that only the dead can’t pick up on it. The deep resonant tones from the bass player keep the songs weighted low in the air, somewhere around the hips. The horn section really makes this group fun, their whole note tones, runs and flourishes accent the undulating grooves while the funkified guitars are almost an afterthought once a GF tune is under way. Although most of GF’s lyrical content is in Spanish, it doesn’t take a mastering of the language to understand what most of them are about - Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. The stage was a whir of motion as the twelve members all contributed to the collective effort to get the audience to shake their thangs. The singer even went so far as to say to the women who were moving to the music, “Hey show these guys how to dance, ladies!” And they did. ? - James E

Duvall / The Fall Collection / Your Red Hands
Thursday 02.05.04

Your Red Hands will tug at your heart strings with their lead singer’s soft, sad voice. Sometimes sappy, emotional songs fit your mood, and this band can bring it to you. This mellow band overflows with calm, soothing, somber tunes.

The best band of the evening took the stage and stole the show. The Fall Collection, with local boys Danny Dunlap, Josh Power and Danny Mackle, can shake you out of your sentimental slump with their pleasing pop rock tunes. A nice break right in the middle of a night filled with overflowing heartrending, tear-jerking voices. At times they had more rock than pop in their step and got crowd up off their feet for a better listen. Make sure you check out their website, www.thefallcollection.com. They announced the website twice during their performance and want people to stop and by and offer feedback.

Duvall brought back the heartbreaking melodrama. Lead singer Josh Caterer’s voice beautifully brims with passion and tragedy. Bordering on whining, half the time you will love it and the other half you just might get slightly annoyed. After all, there is so much whining one can take. Though they will never be one of my favorite bands, I would purchase their CD Volume and Density—possibly the perfect soundtrack for the worst breakup. –Misty Sweet

Tuesday, 1- 27-04

Eins, Zwei, Drei, Fear: What can one say about Fear that hasn't already been said? Who's going to be reading this review who isn't already familiar with what will be in it, and just how powerful Lee Ving's presence truly is? Every band has its off nights, but Fear may be the exception. For the handful of folks that put getting up for work before music (I'm a school teacher, you have no excuse), the answer is Yes, you missed out. Fear commanded the small front room of Emo's, playing many classics from their albums "The Record" and "More Beer," as well as some of their new classics from "Have Another Beer with Fear." No matter what your political views may be, no one can disregard the loud aggressive anger fueled by beer that is Fear. "If you don't agree with this song, then...You better watch your back...." The crowd cheers him on, either because they're just refreshed to see Ving, a master of inciting violence, at work, or they're just too drunk to catch the drift of his words, "We support George Bush," or maybe they just don't give a fuck. You're there because you want Ving to pour salt in your open wounds, you're there to laugh about the things you Fear. This is punk rock, you don't have to agree with it. If you don't like it, Fuck You! - Mel Brooks


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