Dune, TX

With its recorded output, Dune, TX manages to cover a wide range of rock styles, all of uniformly high quality, but the live experience has always been about rockin' out with the bare essentials: riff stacked upon riff and good times everywhere.

It's not that Dune, TX is a party band per se; it's just that when rock 'n' roll is this elemental -- drawn directly from Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys and L.A. Guns, and then put through a Smashing Pumpkins/Tripping Daisy processor -- it's tough not to be happy, either on the stage or in front of it. Chris Sacco (guitar and vocals) is a fine front man, sincere and adept. But what really makes it all work on stage is the ability of the band, Sacco included, to take a step back and let the music take over. While Dune, TX never strays anywhere near jam-band territory, the music does often seem to be channeled through the performers -- including Tim Herrmann (drums) and Rusty Guess (bass) -- rather than performed by them. What's more, the band seems oblivious to its nearly supernatural talents, simply laying it out like it comes, despite all the power around them.

And power there is. The biker riffs of "Feelin' Alright" and "Machowagon" are obvious. You can almost smell the exhaust in their wake. Even the more traditional indie pieces such as "six-five" and "The Weez" end up leaving pipe burns and a pleasingly disorienting buzz in the brain. Hey, your girlfriend may even like this stuff.

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Chris Smith