Ted Nugent House of Blues August 25, 2011
"I cause liberals to shit themselves. I make music for those assholes to kill themselves to," says Ted Nugent, lording over a sold-out House of Blues crowd full of sleeveless, sweaty, and buzzed
Americans Texans hanging on his every lick and line.
We are sitting about six songs into the third Ted Nugent show we have attended in just over a year. The first was back last July at the Pasadena Fairgrounds for a military veterans benefit, where there was a delightful backdrop of Nuge and friends rolling over all the big liberal politicians. The second was just a few months ago out in Winnie at Nutty Jerry's, a subdued show by his standards, at least when it came to the Nuge's trademark rhetoric. Both shows were loud and on point, musically.
But you've heard all this before. Let's fast forward.
Now you may be asking Aftermath why we have driven out of the Inner Loop twice for such a man, whose words wildly inflame those who disagree, and for others act like a warming fire on chilly Central Texas evening. You guys do remember when it used to get cold in Texas, right?
The answer is simply that for all the saber-rattling and the taunting, the man puts on a killer rock show. He's an underrated guitar player. Riffs drip off his animal-killing fingertips like so much hog's blood. Still others say that no matter how great a rocker he may be, his words in between songs are too abrasive to warrant the ticket price.
If you cut out the swearing and the tirades, the show would last at least half the duration of last night's two-hour workout. But we guess if you asked Snoop Dogg to not bring up pot, then he would be over and gone in the time it takes to watch an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras without the commercials.
Nugent reunited with his former band member Derek St. Holmes earlier this year, and his live shows are the better for it. Things are well, meatier, to borrow a buzzword from Uncle Ted's lexicon.
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There was no crazed tapestry behind the band last night, just a simple frayed American flag, and an array of guitars displayed like rifles in your grandfather's gun cabinet, the one you got swatted at for trying to open. We were sort of hoping for something to write home about, if only to shock you sitting in front of your monitor.
So we've spent a year in the company of the Nuge and we doubt we will be there for the next show here in town. By the time he got to the big immigration/White House cocksucker speech we wished we were home watching El Topo.
Have we learned anything, other than we share little with his crowd, besides our own pro-gun, NRA member, concealed hand gun license-carrying stance you aren't supposed to know about? Nothing really, except that you either ignore his words, or get the Hell out. It's that simple. We suppose that's why people still buy Kanye "Hitler" West's stuff, or at least torrent it all and let him take up room on their hard drives.
We chose a long time ago to separate personal views and stage banter from an artist's work. That's how we can still enjoy Rage Against The Machine and NOFX and leave our own views behind the bar with our credit card. Except for Chris Brown, because well, he beats women and has the mental flicker of a pubescent possum.
There was "Free For All," "Wango Tango," "Stormtroopin'", and "Cat Scratch Bieber," pinning us down for two hours, the promise of the "Great White Buffalo" stage play at the end, which came sans fire due to the venue's anti-fun, anti-pyro policy. Shame, that.
He dedicated "Dog Eat Dog" (we think) to Governor Rick Perry, whom he is a staunch supporter of, mentioning that he kills coyotes, among being a general badass. The idea of a newly-minted President Perry dancing to "Strangehold" at the inauguration ball flashed through our mind with a giggle, though "Death By Misadventure" would be more on target. There's another shooting reference for you.
Jesus, it's so much easier to cover safe artists like Dwight Yoakam, The Dead Weather and others who only preach sex and danger, at least when it comes to writing about them. But we suppose if Jack White ever comes out in an Indian headdress and rails on Rick Perry we would clap, smile, and holler.
We love Uncle Ted because he at least creates a striking image in a sea of normalcy. Like counter-programming to everything else we see weekly, he reminds us that not all is well in the heart of the average American, beyond politics, and hasn't been for some time. Before Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, or even Reagan. Even after a Perry term, things will never be completely "right."
Like we posited when we covered Rick Perry's prayer party, The Response, for Hair Balls, these people do actually vote with their convictions, which is something to think about next November.
Personal Bias: Loud noises.
The Crowd: There was a guy holding up a bow quiver all night in front of us in the crowd. Aside from that, refer to our other two Nuge reviews, shake well, and serve over ice.
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Overheard In the Crowd: "Fuck yeah Rick Perry," apropos of fuck-all from a man closing out his tab at one of the bars in the venue.
Random Notebook Dump: When you shoved your hand down the back of your wife's pants and then winked at in our direction, we knew you were a special person.