Saturday, March 15, 2008



Well, hell, I already raved about The Waco Brothers in my column, posted immediately below (a review of their new live album and some sweet memories of Waco shows past). So to cut to the chase, let's just say the Wacos didn't disappoint Friday at the Bloodshot records party at the yard Dog Gallery..
For the record, there were some personnel shifts for this performance. Drummer Steve Goulding and bassist Alan Doughty weren't there. They were replaced by drummer Mighty Joe Whazisname (who played on some cuts on the live album) and bassist Davey Beebe from the Allen Oldies Band (who also backed up Andre Williams earlier at the Bloodshot Party.) Both did a fine job subbing.

The Brothers also were joined by some Waco sisters -- fiddler Jean Cooke, who has accompanied Jon Langford on several recordings, and Jo of the late great Meat Purveyors, who helped out on "White Lightning." Her presence reminded me of how much I missed the Purveyors, who always were a hoot at SXSW.

Once again, most the music shows I went to on Friday were those of old favorites. I guess I just haven't been in a real adventurous mood this festival.

Fortunately my old faves didn't let me down.
As I mentioned above, also appearing at the Bloodshot Party was Andre Williams, an old R&B warlord who had some minor hits in the 1950s and early '60s. He was best known for "Shake a Tail Feather," which curiously, he didn't perform Friday afternoon.

After years in obscurity -- and reportedly drug addiction -- Williams started recording again with punk-based groups on independent labels, where he's allowed to be as raunchy as he wants. He's recorded with The Dirtbombs and, backed by the surf/country Sadies, did a "country" album for Bloodshot back in 1999.

On Friday Williams emphasized his early rock 'n' roll background. My only complaint -- his set wasn't long enough -- less than 30 minutes. Just enough to make me want more.

John Doe SXSW '08
Photo by Molly Terrell Brake

Playing at the Austin Convention Center -- for some Direct TV live concert series, was X, the classic Los Angeles punk group that's broken up and reformed a few times, but still sounds fresh and vibrant.

Last time I saw this group was at Club Luna in santa Fe circa 1993. At that point Tony Gilkyson, a former Santa Fe boy, was playing guitar with the group. Nowadays original guitarist Billy Zoom is back in the fold.

With his blonde pompadour and Chuck Berry licks, Zoom still looks as if he wandered into the wrong group, thinking he was joining a rockabilly band. But he still looks as if he's having the time of his life.

And of course the highlight of X still is the weird harmonies of Exene and John Doe. They sing together as if they've uncovered some secret Appalachian code to summon the spirits of ancestors.

The group played exclusively their old, better-known songs -- "Los Angeles," "Johnny Hit and Run Paulene," "White Girl," "The New World," "We're Desperate," "The Hungry Wolf." Some of those songs are 30 years old, but to these ears, they don't sound dated.

But I'm wondering whether John and Exene have a few more new songs suitable for X left in them.

(John Doe photo by Molly Terrell)

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