Scott H. Biram Continental Club May 17, 2013
Fans of Scott H. Biram's brand of rusty yelpin' need not worry, because the Dirty Old One Man Band still sheltering us in a hefty dose of antiquated down-home blues.
With slightly less audacity than past shows and sipping Guinness tallboys all night, a tamer Biram cranked up the phaser rich pedal board and reached into his arsenal of Gibsons, pulling out his trusty scratched-up hollowbody, to instigate a night of blues covers with Lightnin' Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf and, by our count, at least three Mance Lipscomb songs in tow.
Leading off with Lead Belly's "Midnight Special," Biram commenced to double-timing tense harmonica riffs and slightly bent choruses to a cozy crowd of about 70, who answered back with fist-pumping rebel yells.
Gone were the rowdy days of Biram throwing back shots of whiskey that in past shows have led to empty shot glasses being thrown at the audience. We were all safe and nicely tucked in on this particular Friday night down at the Continental Club.
Instead of force-feeding us two-fistin' furious punk and knocked-up rock, we got Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man" with a little Woody Guthrie thrown in, a straight up lesson in the days of old when legendary bluesmen preferred to sit back and moan the night away on a wooden stool backporch style.
Halfway through his set of mostly covers, Biram realized his guitar was strung wrong, par for the course with the anything-can-happen attitude he lays on so thick.
The bullhorn got busted out, and though tamer, we still got his trademark wise-crackin' antics when he started in on a verse of "You Are My Sunshine," only to end it abruptly, saying he was just kidding.
Biram's not one for pleasantries after all, preferring to march to the beat of his own, er, stompbox.
He kept the night rollin' right along with his homemade contraption, and as Biram shows go, the "just ask and ye shall receive" mantra rang true. We got an up close and personal look at it, complete with a hand-painted western scene on the backside.
Capping off the night, he traded in the Texas-style blues for some good old-fashioned yodelin' via a Don Walser tune, but the best way to end such a laid-back night is with a bit of good advice.
Biram obliged with a nod to tipping bartenders and reminding us all not to forget to pull out.
Personal Bias: The more hillbilly or white-trash the music is, the more I like it. Also, I'm going trash-picking for a piece of plywood and googling plans to build my own stomp box.
The Crowd: Tatted-up Biram die-hards, frat packs, a white trash couple, incognito local musicians, the "don't be that guy wearing a Biram shirt at a Biram show."
Overheard In the Crowd: "We like songs about chickens."
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Random Notebook Dump:: Biram is working on a new album at Austin's Cacophony Recorders, but says he's been listening to classical music. I'm scared and you should be too.