True Blood: Of Wolf and Anton Newcombe
Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood -- which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
This is going to be a brief look into True Blood, because I frankly spent the last two hours tracking down an old blues song only to reach a dead end.
Music Director Gary Calamar choose Percy Mayfield's "Hopeless" as title track and credit song. I've found the tune under the name "Roadhouse Blues" by the legendary Albert King and "If I Were a Lucky Man" by Robert Plant. Frankly, all three are stellar renditions, and I have no idea which is the original.
Regardless, aside from a sense of despair it doesn't really help bring the episode to life, so I'm forced to dig deeper.
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First off, what's happening? Not much, friends and neighbors. Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) have managed to track down Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) and have delivered him into the hands of the vampire authority. While this seems like a fortuitous turn of events, any person with half a brain could have seen where this was going.
First, Chris Meloni as the Guardian in the Vampiratican was just too awesome to live... much like O'Hare's Edgington, but he got a reprieve. Second, I don't think anyone could miss the fact that the whole thing was a twisted plot by Salome (Valentina Cervi) to bring abut some fanatical vampire religious fundamentalism. The whole things was wicked obvious, and all the episode did was play that out.
On the other hand... God bless whoever thought that casting Tina Majorino as vampire tech support would be a good idea. She is too cute for words, and I certainly hope she survives the coup.
Instead, let's call attention to Alcide (Joe Manganiello), who the ladies all went to see in Magic Mike recently. He was on hand to help apprehend Edgington, and fought off some of his werewolf brethren as they aligned themselves once again with the vampire for an endless supply of his intoxicating and powerful blood. The exchange prompts Alcide to do what he had previously foregone, assume pack leadership in the area.
This leads to a tense confrontation with the current packmaster, who Alcide found in Edgington's lair and who fled when the tide turned. What kind of song do you pick to underscore that kind of power struggle? Brian Jonestown Massacre's "Gaz Hilarant," of course.
Now, I have a hard time imaging the weres of Louisiana as BJM fans... to a man, they've all been portrayed as trash except Alcide. They're usually bikers, meth heads, and other outlaws rather than their much more sympathetic existence in the books, and such folks don't usually peruse the section of the CD store where Anton Newcombe is relevant.
Still, there it is as Alcide stares down the much lesser man, and all told it is very fitting. Coming off the Germantastic release earlier this year, Aufheben, it's a bizarre track with no discernible lyrics but a tension nonetheless. Somewhere at it's heart is a perforated line between the chaos that we left behind as animals and the cruelty that we exhibit as humans.
Interestingly enough, the title of the song translates from French as "Laughing Gas." All told, you could not have picked a more perfect personification of the current madness in the were community.
When last we left it a mother was eating her dead son. If that doesn't sound like something you'd see on nitrous oxide, then I don't know what is.
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