Barrence Whitfield & the Savages at Under the Volcano, 1/15/2013

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages at Under the Volcano, 1/15/2013
Photos by Jason Wolter

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages Under the Volcano January 16, 2014

The tremors felt in Rice Village, Southampton, and West University Place last night were not small earthquakes related to fracking. All that shook-up vibration emanated from a little five-piece combo known as Barrence Whitfield and the Savage Kings.

Outside Felipe Galvan and some of the Los Skarnales crew, there weren't many musicians or hipsters in the crowd, no doubt an ego-preservation move on their parts because Mr. Whitfield and his savage rock and roll crew gave a clinic in old time stomp-your-butt rock and roll the likes of which not a single band that we're aware of in Houston can match. There. We said it.

Luckily the structure withstood the vibratory attack from within, but if the roof had caved in on the proceedings, Rocks Off doubts many in attendance would've been surprised. Unlike Spinal Tap, the Savages cranked it to 9.5 and Whitfield handled the rest with his booming voice. James Earl Jones has nothing on this guy when it comes to "god-like voice."

Barrence Whitfield & the Savages at Under the Volcano, 1/15/2013

Add to the equation that Whitfield and the Kings know the first job of rock and roll is to entertain, not to model your latest Roger Daltrey look or make an 11-second burst of death-noise to sell to some 14-year-old in Finland, kiddo. Beyond that, they did what any great rock and roll band does: shake some tailfeather. And if your tailfeather wasn't shaking during this show, you might want to make sure all your plumage is still intact.

But beyond the Chuck Berry knock-your-socks-off attack and power, Whitfield subtly carries on a smart Boston down and dirty musical tradition that at minimum reaches back to the Standell's and "Dirty Water." And it doesn't take long to realize Whitfield and his mates spent their time with the first J. Geils band records. If Whitfield had dropped into "First I Look at the Purse," most would have assumed it was his tune because this presentation is so personal and honest.

All Rocks Off knows is we're glad we were there for this rare blast of rock and roll reality.

Personal Bias: Rocks Off is like Bob Seger -- we like that old time rock and roll.

The Crowd: Gray, mostly male, probably not worried about having to be at the office at 8 a.m. Testosterone beyond safe levels.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Have they already done the sound check?" "Sound check? I don't think they do sound checks."


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