Southern Culture on the Skids Continental Club March 30, 2013
There was a time when there was no more electrifying experience to be had than taking in a Southern Culture on the Skids show. Anything could happen, from flying chicken bones to booty-shakin' the night away, and it usually did.
Happily, Saturday night was as electrifying and as silly as ever as SCOTS hunkered down on Main Street and took over the Continental Club for their annual weekend double dose of twisted trailer-park mayhem.
The band came out looking like they usually do, tastier than a bucket of fried chicken. Lead singer and guitarist Rick Miller played the part of Colonel Sanders, decked out in a sharp, smart thinly-striped white suit.
Bassist Mary Huff still holds the title of queen of the crazy outfits, with her glittery gold tights, white miniskirt and stark matching cowboy boots. Her infamous beehive is definitely decreasing in size, though.
Drummer and maraca-shaker extraordinaire Dave Hartman earns the award for most normally dressed SCOTS member of the night in simple jeans and a button-down. Switching gears altogether, he opted to stand in a straight line with the rest of band at the front of the stage, but still played standing up as he always does.
The audience was not as dolled up as one might usually find at SCOTS shows, but there were at few lasses holed up to the right of the stage waiting for their chance to shimmy-shack shake the night away.
When the band took the stage, Miller broke out a vintage black Dan Electro guitar with flecks of glitter that accompanied his brand of twangy rockabilly and electrified surf nicely. SCOTS opened the two-hour set with Huff, who would don everything from kitschy sunglasses to bunny ears, singing "Nitty Gritty."
The trio's latest release Zombified, a reissue of their Australian-only 1998 EP that sounds like the Misfits gone country, got some play, but mostly the band stuck to crowd favorites like "Too Much Pork For Just One Fork," "Dirt Track Date," "Meximelt," "Greenback Fly," and of course "8 Piece Box."
Miller broke down into storytelling mood a few times during the night, recalling that "Camel Walk" was written during a stint at a Motel 6 while he and Huff (clad in only her underwear) were camped out watching Mysteries of the Ancient Pyramids. Ah, fond memories of nights spent in cheap motels.
By the time the band got to "High Life," the crowd (more sedate than usual) was swaying together as one, and almost handclapping in unison when the band went into a rendition of "Put Your Teeth Up On the Window Sill."
Slowly but surely, the band got to the business of crowd-sourcing the audience for participation in the onstage chicken shack strut that usually ensues at SCOTS shows, and knew all the "regulars" on a first-name basis. At most there were six or seven takers, one of whom included a guy proudly decked out in brightly painted overalls.
Then out came the bucket of fried chicken, which prompted the merch girl, clad in a pink feather boa, to indulge drummer Hartman with tiny bits while dancing around him exotically. He never even missed a beat.
Rumor has it that during Friday night's show, the band forgot the chicken and opted instead to throw out banana pudding in the form of neatly sized snack packs to the waiting crowd. Lucky bastards.
All in all, it was exactly what a Saturday-night SCOTS show should be: fun and, er, tasty. The band even managed an encore, but no thanks to a crowd that just stood around waiting, almost in vain.
Eventually Miller broke out a Flying V guitar and erupted into "Banana Puddin'" and "Shotgun," which finally sent the crowd into a tizzy, but we never got any of those rumored snack packs.
Personal Bias: I'm a sucker for hot guitars especially if they once came from an American mail-order catalog like Sears, and Miller has a showcased his chicken'-pickin' talents on more than a few of them during his annual stints in Houston.
The Crowd: Rockabilly guys and dolls, college-age beer drinkers (possibly a few first-timers among them), silver foxes, and one older female Flamenco dancer but sadly not enough takers willing to join her.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I've got pink boa feathers all over me."
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Random Notebook Dump: A certain member of SCOTS claimed he was eyeing a beat-box drum machine at Rockin' Robin Guitars. If you've had your eye on it too, better giddy on up before it's gone.