Saturday, February 27, 2010

Round Two of ROKY!!!

Wednesday night saw the return to Houston of Roky Erickson, a long-time personal hero. After 20+ years of super-fandom, I finally got to see Roky live last June. And it was easily (very easily) the #1 Live Show of 2009.

Going into this 2nd show at The Continental Club, we didn't know what to expect. Roky's got a new album coming out in April, with a great new song I just recently posted. Would new material be played? Would it be identical to the show just 8 months ago? Turned out: neither.

True, the vast majority of the songs were again from The Evil One (1980), with "You're Gonna Miss Me" definitely on the list.

[I own this now!!
Pictures from Houston Press]

Even if it had been identical to the previous show, everything would have been all good. We camped out at the side of the stage, which cut into the already low vocal mix. But Roky tends to turn around a lot, away from the audience. And as planned, this position gave us a perfect view of him playing, interacting with the band, chatting between songs. He seemed in a great mood. If he flubbed some guitar part, he kind of tilted his head and winked, almost a nonchalant shrug gesture.

Not being out front, most of the sound was from the stage amps and monitors, which gave a great opportunity to hear the others' playing. Also, there wasn't the same initial mesmeric tunnel-vision that accompanied my first time seeing Roky live in person. The bassist was way on the other side, so didn't catch too much there. But the guitarist and drummer were relentlessly on fire! Very impressive. (I didn't realize at the last show that the guitarist was one of the guys who joined Butthole Surfers when Jeff Pinkus left.)

So, Roky was great, seeing Roky was great, the band was great. Great! After the apocalyptic blues crawl of "The Beast," I guess they wanted to change the pace, so they bumped up "Ooh My Soul." This being Roky Erickson, I didn't know if it was a new one, an old obscurity, an older Buddy Holly song - coulda been anything. Turns out, it was Little Richard. It certainly energized Roky, he was beltin' his way through it and really selling the title on the break.

Soon after, "You're Gonna Miss Me" made its appearance, and all of a sudden there's a ruckus. Right there next to us. The young girls who had unexpectedly been singing along to most every song were in the midst of a serious throwndown catfight brawl. Hair-grabbing, kicks flying, fists pummelling. Bad vibes, man. But it (they) got cleared out, and next up was the shocker of "Splash 1" - my mind nearly sheared completely off!! The setlist says the order of those two 13th Floor Elevators songs were reversed, so maybe... "Two Headed Dog" ended ths show, and the listed encore didn't happen. Maybe too many people were mobbing Roky in the back room, which it looked like to me.

So, yeah, it was terrific. There were several times when I realized just how much some of Roky's lyrics and songs are weirdly ingrained into my psyche. And not necessarily like the message songs, more stuff like:
"If it's raining and you're running, don't slip in mud,
Because if you do, you'll slip in blood... tonight!
Is the night of the vampire."

So true.

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