They left the costumes at home, but The Hates were still able to exude the infectious charm of a past era in their tribute to an early rock 'n' roll icon, Buddy Holly, Friday night. The Hates performed under the moniker The Blue Suedes at Cactus Music as part of the record store's third annual holiday toy drive, benefitting the Houston Area Women's Shelter. Though it took the band a few songs to get comfortable with their new genre, by the end of the show they were playing as loud and as hard as they would have in any venue under any other circumstances.
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It may have been hard for singer Christian Amheiter - the architect of the band and the only original member remaining from The Hates three-decade long career - to give up some creative control to bass player Dave Deviant, but it's a wonderful thing he did. Deviant, a rockabilly fan who switched to stand-up bass a few songs in, took the helm with ease, playing everything from "Oh Boy" to the Stray Cats' "Built For Speed" with an energy and aplomb that left him breathless after every song. The Hates also played a few originals, and though Amheiter told us on Friday that the band wasn't really looking to put a modern spin on the music, we couldn't help but compare their renditions of Holly's work to something like the Ramones covering early '60s hits like "Needles and Pins." Some songs were a little raw, as though the band had just learned them, but it didn't matter much because everybody seemed to be having a good time for a good cause. At the close of the show Deviant quite literally let his hair down, and Amheiter had a chance to show off his solo skills with a version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" that would make Michael J. Fox jealous. Now that the boys have branched out a little, Aftermath hopes they keep experimenting, because Friday night's results showed just how much potential the band has outside of traditional punk.