If there is one thing that we know for sure it’s that Linus is not a weekday show kind of band. Add to that an early start time and you have the LP4 fighting an uphill battle. Nonetheless, given the fact that this was a benefit for Ame Strasser (a very dear friend of Shelley and Steve) how could we say no? The sad news was that Ame passed away just a week before. That really puts a damper about having a good time at a benefit. I mean, there is a small pang of guilt when you are planning of singing silly sings about Satan Eating at La Tapatia when you know there is a 4-year-old child who is now without a mother.
So with this baggage we headed off to Fitzgerald’s. Now have to say it’s been a really really long time since I’ve been to Fitz I really abohorred the downstairs. It was a cramped little slum for local bands to be hazed by the Fitzgerald’s schtick. Sure, they still haze the kids with bands with the whole Fitz “if you do well enough here you can play upstairs” routine but the good news is that the space was actually nice now. We dropped off our equipment in the small but adequate backstage area then watched “Young Frankenstein” on a DVD Projector from the comfort of some La-Z Boys. Between the lounging, snickering, and the bands admission that Teri Garr was actually a real cutie we came to the horrible realization that we were a bit too comfortable. Me I was almost ready to fall asleep there. Mercifully, the DVD started skipping which snapped us back to the Idea that we were about to play a show and, if we were ready for house slippers and PJs, we were likely not ready to rock. Cue in a few Lone Stars and the first band…
The first band was Slag. Now like I said I was a bit sleepy and for me when I’m sleepy the effect of metal’s harsh guitars and pounding drums is much the same a nice massage. So, I can’t comment on the music as my brain wasn’t working on the right level but I can say that Slag’s frontman was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Here is this big burly guy squeezing his face into these insane contortions that had everyone impressed. It’s that kind of Bruce Springsteen I’m-signing-like-I’m –taking-a-crap face BUT knowingly funny! The clincher that made everyone bow to his brilliance was when he unpacked this sheet, unfolded it, and, despite its inadequate size, draped it over himself. The sheet was so small that we half expected him to cut a hole and make a poncho out of it but instead the ghostly howl of “ooooOOooooOOoooOoo!” emanated from underneath as they went into some song about ghosts. It was fucking brilliant; I’m talking Daniel Johnson would have crapped in his pants great!
Whorehound followed and if you read my Houston Press awards blog you’d know that they rock pretty hard. Of course as luck would have it, Jon broke a guitar string on the best song leaving Trevi and Cory to continue on as a duo. Trevi dutifully carried on with a smile that said “Yeah, I’m signing – what if it?” and had everyone rooting for them. It was like rooting for the Ten Thousand in Xenophon’s Anabasis. [Ok, well, maybe not quite like that…I mean it was just a string change after all but just go with me because that’s the only simile I’ve got right now.] And much like the storied Greeks, Jon overcame his foe, vanquished it, and against bitter odds returned (to the mic). Ok I’m reaching but fuck it, they rocked.
Next up was Bowel. Now I’d heard a lot about Bowel and I was both excited to hear them and dreading the fact that we would be following them. Sure enough the band (playing as a Three Piece oddly enough) sludged through some metal that more than lived up to the bands name. By the overkill of two huge bass cabinets, Bowel succeeded in literally rattling your guts. A few songs into it I had to start getting ready for our set but from what I saw the band lives up to the hype in every way, shape, and frequency.
Clearly, if Metal is measured by the amount of people standing close to the stage rocking, then we clearly were about as popular as a bespectacled kid walking up on stage and asking if this was the room where they would debating the merits of the new season of Doctor Who’s David Tennant. I mean we performed well but when we began to play Southern Pine (our one song with a mellow part juxtaposed with a heavy part) you could feel the room collectively think “Dude, I could so kick their ass! There’s not a tattoo on the lot of ‘em!” Mercifully, ending with La Tapatia gave us a stay of execution. I’m exaggerating of course, I mean we did play a solid set and likely held our own but I did feel like we were the odd man out of the bunch.
Academy Black closed the night with an hour-long set of fog and Metal. They were actually really great but, it being a weekday and my having burned every ounce of energy with La Tapatia, thirty minutes into their set, I was ready to go home, shower, and sleep. So despite my dread, it was a night of music worthy of Ame’s memory.