A wish many Houston music fans barely even dared to think to themselves, let alone utter out loud, came to pass when deadhorse returned from oblivion to face a nearly sold-out, wildly enthusiastic Warehouse Live crowd Saturday night.
From what Rocks Off could tell, about a third of the audience (including ourselves) was too young to have seen the band that all but patented the twisted brand of Texas thrash-metal known as "horsecore" during their original run, which ended in the mid-'90s.
Some looked like they weren't even born when deadhorse hung it up, but whatever their age, they had plenty of disposable income: Sales at the bar and merch booth were brisk, with many choosing to put on their brand-new deadhorse T-shirts over whatever they had worn to the show.
Several people were also clutching vinyl copies of BOIL(ing), the 1996 EP newly reissued by Abyss Records. BOIL(ing) was the only deadhorse record released without the participation of original vocalist Michael Haaga, who left the group acrimoniously in 1994 and declined to participate in the reunion.
Saturday, Mike Argo handled lead vocals, looking alternately bemused and dumbstruck to be sharing the stage with the other horses. Still, he handled himself well onstage and from the half an hour or so we saw - unfortunately, Rocks Off had to leave early due to a prior commitment - he can certainly bellow with the best of them.
We have no idea how it would have gone if Haaga and the rest of deadhorse had buried the hatchet, but that's beside the point. We do know a good metal show when we see one, and this one had all the earmarks: Scathing riffs, rhythms as powerful and precise as a machine-shop press and a pit that was roiling within a couple of songs.
But don't take our word for it. Here's a sampling of what people have been saying on deadhorse's Facebook page since the show.
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- "Great show tonight!!"
- "I want to thank all of the deadhorse fans they made it out to the show tonight. The turnout was incredible and we appreciate each and every one of you." (from Mike Argo)
- "That was the tightest deadhorse show I've EVER seen (and the best show I've seen in ages to boot!)... Total demolition mode in a full house!... I can still hear the roar of that mob!"
- "DESTROYED it!"
- "Deadhorse tore the fucking roof off of Warehouse live last night! ♥"
- "Youze was pretty fu*#ing tremendous last night, for a bunch of old men."
- "Best show of my fucking life! I may not have been old enough to know the glory of dead horse back then but I sure make up for it now."
- "Show was killa, pit was a killa and hangover is a killa"
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This version of deadhorse plays Fun Fun Fun Fest at Austin's Auditorium Shores at 3:50 p.m. Saturday, November 5, on the "White Stage" (the one The Damned and Hot Snakes are headlining that night).
After that, it looks like they're not riding into the sunset: A Facebook message from the band Sunday said "I'm sure they will play again next year... thank you [to] the fans."