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Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Hell City Kings & Slippin’ Mickies 09/20/2008

Submitted by RamonLP4 on September 22, 2008 – 9:00 amNo Comment

Leon casino, Saturday night I texted one of my friends with the message “Off to Rudz - free show, cold beer, and AC.” Well, two out of three folks. When I got there the doors were open and the patio was to capacity. It seems that Rudz power was indeed on but the storm had affected the juice in such a way that all but the AC could be turned on. That was pretty par for the course for local bars and small businesses across town. For example, Poison Girl supposedly had one night where the staff was battling a flaming generator one night last week. Thankfully, at Rudz, a huge box fan upstairs and a few minutes to acclimatize with a cold beer and you were gold - a little sweaty maybe but no worse for wear. Plus, like Mike Watt once told me, “This is rock and roll; it’s all about sweat!” Amen grand poo bah!

Before I get into the review, let’s talk US currency, bottle caps, and digestive system. I was asking Hell City King’s Bill Fool about Born Liars and he mentioned how there was a show recently that ended up with bottles strewn everywhere from all the typical Born Liars insanity. During the show, someone threw him two dollar bills. One he tore up and ate. The other he ate whole. It turns out the US Mint isn’t joking about the durability of its currency so in the end it came out as legible as it came in. This led to another similar story of Bill’s high school friend who had a penchant for twisting off beer bottle caps with his teeth. Long story short, he swallowed one, and the cap came out (sans the rubber underneath and the printed graphics) in once piece, and the fellow now wears it as a necklace. Needless to say I didn’t order any food at Rudz that night. Thanks Bill.

Openers Slippin’ Mickies played well. The drums, bass, and guitar were all solid and just sloppy enough to be fun but something wasn’t quite jellin’. Eventually, I concluded that the reason was the frontman. Mind you, the guy had a good rock voice and at times he’d be pretty charming on stage but it was what he’d do when he wasn’t singing that was working against him. He’d sing a line then, clutching the mic tightly in his fist, swing his fist down to his waist, lower his head, and stand there bobbing his head to the music until the next line. Here is the deal - being the frontman is a tough job. It’s as much performance as it is being able to sing; like it or not you are the center of attention. If you don’t command the stage, it doesn’t matter how well you can sing. Now in his defense, one friend of mine did say that the singer seemed off this evening. That may be true given everyone’s issues with heat, clean-up, and day jobs. So I don’t want to overstate the issue as the band did play well and their clever appropriation of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper was likely the wittiest band member roll-call I’d ever seen.

Now, Hell City Kings‘ front man had no problems with taking on his duties as he stood there shirtless, tattooed, mustached, with short cropped thinning hair, and a presence that said “Goddamn, I am the prettiest motherfucker here!” Sergio Leone would have cast this dude in a heartbeat - the bad or the ugly but certainly not the good. That’s the whole thing that made the show great. Here is this dude playing ugly to a hilt, slithering, oozing sweat, and generally goading the audience until, by the end, that infamous Rudyard’s five foot gap is filled with fists and bodies screaming back. It’s straight-up drunken I- don’t- give- a- fuck, tattooed rock and roll. Ask me about the chord changes. Ask me about the nuances. Ask me about the lyrical content. I haven’t a fucking clue. They just play it like Ike tearing across Houston and yr not worried about what it all means while it’s happening. All I know is that the rhythm section was tight and brutal, the singer challenged the audience at every turn to embrace the sweat of the music, and the guitarists rolled through every rock and roll cliche (dual guitar leads, walk through the audience during a solo, guitar pose-o-rama, etc.) and despite all the posturing it wasn’t corny, it was fun. Will Hell City Kings change rock and roll history? No, but it was a party. A very fucking hot and sweaty party of tattooed ugly mother fuckers with the rest of us shouting back “We’re ugly and sweaty too!” and that is all that matters. In other words, they were the rock and roll sweat Mr. Watt had mentioned to me years ago.

Rundyard’s Staff enjoying
the post Ike Air Conditioning!
Oh, do I Rock now?
Yr shaking your head; is that a yes or a no?
Because, if you want me to rock now, I can do it.

Woo look at me, I’m rocking now.

Yes you are my friend.
Yes, you are!

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight.

The Enterprise is under attack!!!!

Oh, no I did NOT need to see that!

OK people! I’m not gonna say it again.
Do not make the Dio devil sign at my crotch.

Jeeeeeeeeez people!
What did I JUST say?!!!!

We sentence you to death by rock!

More pictures on myflickr (link)

Hell City Kings on myspace (link)
Slippin’ Mickies on myspace (link)

*I Feel Pretty - Lyrics Stephen Sondheim - West Side Story (1956) .

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