Slobberbone Continental Club June 3, 2011
Maybe it was the lack of warning. Aftermath received notice of last Friday night's Slobberbone show at the Continental Club less than a week prior, and the gig itself was merely one date on a mini-tour among the band's usual Texas stops (Austin and Dallas included).
So perhaps that was it. Possibly it was the lack of a new album to and the accompanying buzz that would normally greet such an occasion. Or maybe folks were getting hydrated and rested up for Summer Fest. Whatever the reason, a scant 75 people were on hand to see the latest performance by - in our humble opinion - one of the best live bands around. A far cry from the packed house Slobberbone played to last August.
Your loss, suckers.
Friday night's set was long on nostalgia, short on anything post-Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today, the band's third release. In fact, they avoided playing anything off of 2002's Slippage entirely, concentrating heavily on debut Crow Pot Pie and Barrel Chested.
As far as Aftermath was concerned, they could play nothing but Cars covers ("Just What I Needed" is one of their better ones), we're that fond of them, and BC might be our overall favorite album of theirs. They led right in with "Front Porch" from that release, not letting up with "Placemat Blues," the band's searing middle finger to mainstream radio, followed by the punk-tinged "Lame" and "Barrel Chested."
Part of the fun of a Slobberbone show is the chemistry between the band members. Lead singer/guitarist Brent Best goofs around with bassist Brian Lane and lead guitarist Jess Barr constantly, and if half their onstage banter feels like in-jokes between the band, it's probably because they are; smart-assed asides and good-natured ribbing forged by almost 15 years of nigh nonstop touring, both with Slobberbone and the Brian Lane-less Drams, formed in 2005.
Though, nobody seems to make much fun of Tony Harper. Drummers are notoriously ill-tempered, after all.
It's testament to Best's songwriting skills that the band is able to keep even Houston's chatty crowds captivated during slower cuts like "Lumberlung" and "One Rung." The band's debauched rock numbers have always been ably offset by the quieter tracks. Songs of lives unfulfilled, love lost, and mistaken identity murder (no "Billy Pritchard" this time around, alas).
And just like that, it was over. Aftermath has mixed feelings about Houston's smoking ban. Mostly we're happy we can go home from a show and not need to take a shower, but there's no denying certain bands (ahem) seem to abbreviate their sets in order to smoke a butt. On occasion.
We kid. Because while we'd have loved to hear Slobberbone's molten cover of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer," we're more than happy to settle for "Can't Hardly Wait." After all, the boys are still getting in road shape for an up upcoming new album(!) and we expect another, longer tour in the coming year. We'll be there, and you better be too.
Personal Bias: First saw them upstairs at Rudz shortly before the release of Everything You Thought... with about a dozen people, then sat drinking at the bar with Brent until 3 a.m. I'm a little biased.
The Crowd: Depressingly sparse. Where the hell were you people? Bell Biv DeVoe?
Overheard In The Crowd: "Gimme back my what?"
Random Notebook Dump: Considering how influential the 'Mats have been on this band, I'm amazed I've never seen them play a sloppy set.
Front Porch Placemat Blues Lame Barrel Chested (I Can Tell) Your Love is Waning Sober Song Lumberlung Gimme Back My Dog Never Bothers Me That is All Engine Joe Pinball Song Lazy Guy Dunk You in the River Man Of Note (unreleased) Your Excuse I'll Be Damned Can't Stay Sober
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One Rung Can't Hardly Wait (Replacements cover)