Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Best Music I Saw in Austin Last Week

Frank Pugliese of Sons of Hercules

I was in Austin, Texas last week. When I arrived in town the only show I knew for certain I'd been going to was Purple Stickpin -- a band led by the  infamous T. Tex Edwards and which includes my pal from Santa Fe, Tom Trusnovic. The show was in San Antonio, some 80 miles south of Austin, but I'd been wanting to see this band for some time.

However, due to circumstances beyond their control, Purple Stickpin got bumped. Tom called me when I was about halfway there. Oh well ... I heard a couple of other bands in Austin that night, but nothing really notable.

Sons of Hercules
The Sons of Hercules
However, I got my fix of crazy Texas garage/punk sounds the next night with a dangerous bill at the Continental Club.

Headlining was The Sons of Hercules, a San Antonio band led by singer Frank Pugliese, who, like T. Tex, has been a Lone Star punk-rock fixture since the 1970s.

In fact, one of Pugliese's claims to fame is that he was in a band called The Vamps that opened for The Sex Pistols in San Antonio during their doom-ladened 1978 American tour.

But that's ancient history. Like his hero (and major influence) Iggy Pop, Pugliese, now in his 60s, has more wild energy than rockers half his age and has incredible charisma for a guy with a mug that reminds me of Shemp Howard.

Some of that comes through in this video, shot at the Continental Club about a year ago.

The Ugly BeatsAlso playing at the Continental that night was The Ugly Beats, whose guitar and electric organ-driven sound is nothing short of infectuous.

Guitarist Joe Emery provides the lead vocals, while Jeanine Attaway's '60s-garage-style organ gives the sound a zing.

Though the Nuggets-era garage sound is their backbone, The Ugly Beats also veer off into Byrdsy folk-rock now and them. They did a a surprisingly good cover of "If I Were a Carpenter" at the Continental.

That night, May 11, was The Ugly Beats' 10th anniversary as a band. Indeed there was a celebratory atmosphere that night.

Here's a video, also from a Continental Club gig, from three years ago.

The Go Wows

I thought that the opening band, The Go Wows, sounded familiar when I heard their first few songs.

 Then I realized, I'd heard this group before -- at least the singer --  but in a previous band, The Texreys, who I'd met through The Garage-Punk Hideout. They sent me their CD Cave Girl,  which I've played on Sound World as well as The Big Enchilada podcast.

The Go Wows feature former Texreys Brendan 'Wig' Kibble, the Australian-born front man, and lead guitarist Eddie Best.

Check out the video below.

Jesse Dayton at the Broken Spoke

And of course no trip to Austin is complete without a night at the Broken Spoke, the classic honky tonk on South Lamar.

Last Thursday I caught a couple of sets by Jesse Dayton. He did several tunes by the late George Jones, an obvious influence on Dayton, including "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and more obscure numbers like "Ya Ba Da Ba Do (So Are You)."

I was hoping that that Dayton would do some Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures songs, which sprang from a strange collaboration with Rob Zombie.

But near the end of the night, he did do "I'm Home Getting Hammered While She's Out Getting Nailed" from another Zombie project, Banjo & Sullivan: The Ultimate Collection. Here's a video of that song.


  1. Steve, thank the San Antonio Spurs and a late west coast playoff game... I was walking out the door when I got the call of the cancellation... But the Spurs rule in SA, it's the only pro franchise they have, & a bar there can make more $$$ off a crowd watching a Spurs playoff game than with a band...

  2. Yeah, Tommy filled me in. Sorry I missed you though. I'm planning on going back to Austin in December. Maybe I'll catch you then.


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