Listen up, fellow ruckus lovers...we're goin' on a road trip.
Follow me back in time, to a place where acoustic instruments reigned supreme, and the kazoo was safe to harmonize alongside the jug, and skirt-lifting had little to do with video hos.
It is there, dear ruckus lovers, that you will find the rare creatures known as the White Ghost Shivers.
Approach cautiously, though...they've been known to throw whistles while barn-dancing.
The seven-piece musical act from Austin invokes a sound influenced by a melting pot of the big-band greats; vaudeville, hokum, jazz, and ragtime are all heavily entwined among Shivers' innuendo-laced lyrics, and the combination makes for one hell of a rowdy live show.
In what can only be summed up as an amalgamation of musical eclecticism, theatre-troupe antics, and sheer lunacy, Shivers' has spent the past decade creating a genius mess of shenanigans, and they have gained a reputation for being one of the most absurdly...well...fun live bands to rise from the Austin music scene in recent years.
We sat down with Shorty Stump, Shivers' resident tenor banjo/ukulele/guitar Lothario, to ask about some of the band's more absurd moments, and to find out how, exactly, he wound up playing a gig wearing little more than his shirt and stick-on mustache.
Shorty's Story No. 1: One of my favorite shows we've ever done was done at a place in East Austin called the Rhizome Collective, and it was for a benefit for Inside Books, which gets inmates books. It was in this barn-like structure; really open and tall.
We were playing on a high stage on one end, and it was full of people. When we ripped into a hoedown, the entire place erupted into a giant sea of dosey-doeing like I've never seen in my life. It looked like a big hillbilly jamboree with several circle-pits of old-time stompin' going on!
I remember thinking that it was the closest thing I'll ever see that resembles what an old barn dance may have looked like 80 years ago! It was so hot and sweaty, everyone was dripping from head to toe, and no one cared.
Shorty's Story No. 2: Back about seven or so years ago, we used to play at this little place called Longbranch Inn. It was right around when we finally started getting decent crowds.
It used to get pretty crazy there. Everyone in that place would be getting down, doused in sweat. Some dude threw a beer bottle against the wall and shattered it, spraying glass all over folks. A year or so later, that same dude stole an expensive projector and DVD player from our Halloween party.
Shorty's Story No. 3: We've been touring Kansas quite a bit over the last seven years and always seem to have really great, high-energy crowds. We were playing a festival for our pal Kirk from Split Lip Rayfield called String Break, (and) for some reason I just remember shirts getting ripped open.
They had a curtain up at the back of the stage, and at the end of the show, our bass player leaned on the curtain thinking it was a wall, and just fell off the back of the stage. His feet were just sticking up from the back of the stage.
Shorty's Story No. 4: The most ridiculous moment I can remember happened only a couple of weeks ago at [Austin's] White Horse. When we play the White Horse, it tends to get really wild.
I can't even remember how it happened, but there were a gaggle of really wild gals up front and somehow they took my pants off, soon followed by my undergarments. That never happens, but that was about as wild as it's gotten.
Oh, and I got some guy to get up on stage and show everyone his "manhood."
So yes, folks, when you stumble across the White Ghost Shivers, it is THAT kind of party. Bring spare pants.
The White Ghost Shivers play two shows, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk.
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