This is really just a justification for the cash I dumped in concert tix. And a way to kill another hour at work on a Friday.
My ass was draggin, but i knew the pork-filled cheese-sailors would not disappoint. The Austin Music Hall is a large, cavernous warehouse of a venue. The security is a drag. At least on your way in. It’s not that they are mean or malicious, more that they just seem like they have no clue whatsoever. Like someone called them up 10 minutes before the gig, and was all, “hey, can you come help out at the show tonight… pick up Tommy and Juan on the way over and figure out something to do about searching people, will call etc.”
negotiated a nonexistent will call booth and strolled in. got there in time for the end of the Drums n’ Tuba set, and enjoyed the 10 minutes I heard, although I can’t comment on it too much, as i was at the back of the warehouse buying some tall Lonestars at that point. I kept pondering why Primus comes to this venue when in town. Stubb’s out door closes down by midnight, but as the night would come to an end by 11:45 anyway, that couldn’t be the issue.
I went for a lung dart on their smokers patio in the set break. slammed in with other folks eagerly awaiting Primus’ first return since the Tour de Fromage. Re-entered and as I flanked the crowd looking for entry into the dense mass in front of the stage, I came up with a viable solution to my question of why they play this big ol, bad soundin barn. Once you get into the thick of the crowd, no one is gonna bother you no matter what you light up.
In short time the boys took the stage… the requisite “YOU SUUUUUUCK’s” sounded out… with the fainter, yet more fun “Lerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” popping up and between them.
Their musical musings and teasings immediately revealed the beginning of “To Defy”. I’m not sure what happens in moments like this, but my head dips forward, the bangs fall down, the bobbing commences as my beer hand rises in salute. It was on. I don’t know too much to say than… Herb is sick, Ler is nuts, and Les, mmmm, he’s the Colonel. It took till mid-way through Pudding Time (CHILDREN!) to get that crazy ol, strolling-hopping duck walk thing going… but by now it’s too late. Everyone is accenting their favorite line and air filling on herb’s zucka-zucka-DATS. I dunno, I love a Primus crowd… the requisite alterna-metal guys with their almost Goth, with a lil bit of trailer girlfriends. Plenty of shaved on the side’s long on top dews. It’s definitely picked up some of the tour kids who can handle a thicker jam, but it’s aight. (STRING CHEESE RIP).
Les rambled on a bit when he pulled out the upright for Tweekers, but the highlight was easily an affable Ler goaded into singing “his new song”, which by his own admission is about Nachos. Let’s see if i can remember the lyrics, “Ohhhh nachos, yes… you are cheesy”. After the lil impromptu which I’m imagining was as rare as Ler on the Bastard Banjee… but perhaps not. They then launched into Seas o Cheese. But I, I, I, will always be blown away by Eleven.
The Set list: To Defy the Laws of Tradition, Pudding Time, Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers, Seas of Cheese, Mr. Krinkle, Eleven, American Life, My Name is Mud, Jerry was a Racecar Driver
Encore: Here Come the Bastards
It was a banner week. No rest as Thursday brought rehearsal for the soon to be Austin-based rock-juggernaut, Taco Leg. Friday found me stepping away from the Mexican Brown Grass and into some much higher grade entertainment. Exhausted but floating roughly 14 inches off the ground I made my way to the Parish to check out Jay Farrar in his latest outing… Gob Iron.
A quick stop at my favorite shelter-benefiting, church-affiliated bbq pit “Holy Smokers” provided me with a belly full of brisket, coffee, and an insanely hot pickle that Gus (read: the smoker) cures himself. I couldn’t finish the whole pickle so half of it had to travel with me to the show. (In case anyone is actually near Austin on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you’ll find Gus and the Holy Smokers between the church and the parking garage at 5th and Trinity.)
It’s a new thing for the Man from Uncle (Tupelo), and this was their first show of the tour. The shows are set up with Anders Parker (of Varnaline and solo endeavors) opening with phenomenal help from Mark Spencer (I didn’t know the name before showing up, but he definitely left the most lasting impression… so much so, I’m now checking out his origins in a alt-bluegrass? group known as The Blood Oranges).
I figured it was gonna be a bit of the ol country, working class, love lorn, blues, and it was. I was tired, the beer was cold, and everything was all right. Perfect for the toe to heel; drink swilling sway that took all the energy i had left for the week. So it’s not grab you by the throat type music. An acoustic guitar on Parker and a Strat on Spencer… but it certainly had its transcendent moments. To be fair you can’t have your transcend, without your stuck in the blahs. but I tend to roll with it. Spencer traded between a lap steel and the strat, but in either case he gave that crystalline high end tele through a twin reverb that finds its home in the “good” country (as opposed to the “hot/new” country).
Next Jay came out for a solo set, excluding a few tracks where Mr. Spencer again came out to add that wonderful color… clean and clear like a Nashville cat. He played all new stuff as far as i could tell, except for a couple of later Son Volt tunes (Highway 61, Okemah and the riots, etc.)
The final set saw all three gob ironers on stage and rotating instruments between pretty much every song. Everyone took a turn on bass, drums, guitar, and keys. It was definitely raw, and definitely the first night of the tour. But it was exactly what I needed on Friday. I’m turning these concert reviews into personal journals aren’t I?
So back to the music.
The third set was good ole garage rock. The first two sets delivered what I expected from the above linked Gob Iron web page… more melancholy channeled this acoustic strumming and humming accompany harmonics… but the last set was the dirty Uncle Tupelo feel of Chickamauga (a tune Jay has belted out in his last “Jay Farrar and canyon” tour), and the shameless three chord fist pump of Son Volt’s “Drown”. So warts and all it was a blast.