Concerts

Aftermath: Butthole Surfers Shake Off the Dust (Devil) at House of Blues

Shortly after Aftermath stumbled across and copied down the Butthole Surfers' set list at House of Blues Thursday night (always check the soundboard), we hit upon what we thought was the brilliant idea of assigning each song a letter grade of sorts based on the following four-point coding system: "M" for melodic, "N" for noise, "P" for psych and "B" for blues.

We were going to assign each song between one and four letters for each of those categories, but ultimately didn't do it because as the show pushed and pulled against the triple axes of Paul Leary's guitar, Gibby Haynes' "Gibbytronix" noisemaker and the demonic rhythm section of Jeff Pinkus (bass), King Coffey (drums) and Teresa Taylor (additional drums and percussion), it was almost impossible to tell where each one ended and the other began.

Some songs, like, um, "Fast Song" and "Gary Floyd," were unrelenting blasts of withering hardcore, while others like "Hey" and "Dancing Fool" were almost beautiful in a completely-fried-on-acid sort of way. Most leaned fairly heavily in one direction or other on our MNPB compass, but the ones that struck the best balance between the four - "Pittsburgh to Lebanon," "Human Cannonball" - were the most memorable.

Besides constantly screwing around with the Gibbytronix, Haynes played a lot of alto sax, which lent a spooky drone-like quality to several songs - opener "Something" was especially striking - and Leary sang quite a bit more than Aftermath expected him to. The guitarist forever endeared himself to the audience (about two-thirds of a full house and - surprise - predominantly male) by, after apologizing for the band being a little rusty because it was the first show of the tour, announcing "Houston fucking rocks."

Yes, it does, and so did the subsequent Leary-sung "The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey's Grave." If Aftermath had been using that rating system we invented and then promptly abandoned, "Shah" would have received a NNNN. And although we miss Haynes pouring lighter fluid into an upside down cymbal and then beating the hell out of it with a drumstick, there was little doubt that by the end of the show, the Surfers, psychedelic porn films behind them and everything, were back in vintage form.

Set List

Something

100 Million People Dead

Fast Song

Suicide

Rocky

Pittsburg to Lebanon

BBQ Pope

Cowboy Bob

Dum Dum

Negro Observer

Bong Song

Hey

Creep In the Cellar

I Saw an X-Ray of a Girl Passing Gas

Goofy's Concern

Too Part/Tornadoes

Dancing Fool

Gary Floyd

Human Cannonball

Who Was In My Room Last Night

Encore

Waiting for Jimmy to Kick

The Shah Sleeps In Lee Harvey's Grave

Comb

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray