In Austin, The Naughty Ones' weekly gig at the Continental Club has become a semi-legendary outpost of loungy sleaze, circa 1959, in a town otherwise far removed from the sort of Vegas bowling alley/cocktail bar The Naughty Ones' music conjures. Here in Houston, the group's following has yet to congeal, with only a barely-noticed engagement at 8.0 earlier this year to build the hype. That, and a private party engagement at the Satellite a month or so back, where, since I was rude enough to invite myself in, I was able to witness first-hand the odd combination of a slinky, five-piece band fronted by a goateed bongo player and a wandering herd of lawyers too busy angling for company favor to notice that the band they'd hired was laying down a jazzy, beatnik soundtrack more suitable for dancing and smooching than schmoozing. Maybe there was common ground to be found in the bottom of a martini glass, but I don't know if lawyers drink that way anymore.
"Swank" is the key word here, and The Naughty Ones carry a hip flask full of it. The questionably tasteful sort of swank that exists only in seedy movie soundtracks. It's a lost age of decadent sophistication that The Naughty Ones tap into for their stylish recycling, and if the present moment happens to constitute lounge culture's 15 minutes on the cycle of revolving fame, there's no reason not to enjoy it while it lasts. I just hope it lasts long enough for people to learn how to dance to this stuff again.
Ted Roddy, perhaps familiar for his continuing lead role in Austin's boppish Teddy and the Tall Tops, is the group's resident frontman, groovily accompanied by Mark Kopri's jazzy guitar reconstructions, Mike Buck's brush-stroke drumming, Michael Sweet-man's dead-on saxophone flights and Rob Douglas' solid bass work. There's a CD in the stores called I Dig Your Voodoo (Continental Records), and it's got a sassy piece of cover art that might give a younger man funny ideas about its proper use. To deliver on the band's provocative and unapologetically retro promise of Adults Only entertainment, two lovely ladies named Kristi Marie and Donna Pearl shimmy more or less nekkid, I'm told, behind fire-orange scrims at stage-side. It's a band. It's an attitude. It's a mood. It's the latest landing point of the style time machine, and who knows when this too will pass, leaving you stuck with the next, and doubtless less gratifying, retro schtick to round the bend.
-- Brad Tyer
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The Naughty Ones play at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, August 6 at the Satellite Lounge. Tickets cost $5. Call 869-COOL for info.