Thursday, March 17, 2016

SXSW Day 2

The Hickoids: America's Sweethearts
AUSTIN, TEXAS _ Hands down my musical highlight Wednesday was The midnight set of The Hickoids over at The White Horse, a nothin' fancy but welcoming joint off East 6th Street that in recent years has become one of my favorite Austin venues in recent years. And, of course, The Hickoids have become one of my chief must-see bands every time I come to Austin. Having a Santa Fe crony, guitarist Tom Trusnovic in the group helps, but I already was a casual Hickhead even before Tommy joined several years ago.

But I was a little apprehensive about seeing them last night because this would be the first show I'd see them since last year's death of original member, guitar slinger, no-shit cosmic cowboy, "The True Heart of Austin Rock 'n' Roll" and Prince of the Plaid Davy Jones.

Publicist extraordinaire Heather West and Hickoid Jeff Smith with Davy's award
Last time I saw Davy, or The Hickoids, was during the 2014 SXSW. I saw them play twice (once in San Marcos and once at the White Horse) and I watched them get formally inducted in the Austin Music Hall of Fame at the Austin Music Awards show. He was in great spirits that week and played like the maniac he was.

Last night before the White Horse show, Davy was honored again at the Austin Music Awards. He got inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame, this time as a "solo" artist. Head Hickoids Honcho Jeff Smith was there to accept that award. He held it up on stage at the beginning of the band's set to great applause. And then the surviving Hickoids proceeded to live up to his memory.

Smith, Trusnovic, bassist Rice Moorehead and drummer Lance Farley -- along with new guitarist Cody Richardson (who also plays with The Beaumonts) bashed through some of my favorite Hickoid hits including "Git Back on The Truck," "Cool Arrow," "Working Man's Friend" and the fabulously filthy "Stop It, You're Killing Me," which put to shame anything in the Blowfly tribute set, which was on immediately before.

My son, who lives in Austin, went with me to the show, so it was heartwarming to see it through the eyes of a newcomer to the warped world of The Hickoids. (He'd seen the band once before, when they opened for Roky Erikson on New Year's Eve. But I'm so bitter and resentful for missing that show, I don't like to talk about it.)

Actually that Blowfly tribute was pretty disappointing. The main problem was it just went on way too long. I loved Blowfly, who died earlier this year, but a little of him goes a long way ...) But that set was sandwiched between two fantastic sets, The Hickoids and The Beaumonts.

I walked into the White Horse just as The Beaumonts were starting one of my favorite tunes, "Money for Drugs."

Unfortunately, we got there too late to see Churchwood and Stevie Tombstone. In my golden years I guess I'm starting to lose my schedule management abilities for SXSW ...

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