It's been said that if you have lived in Texas for at least a decade and haven't at least been in the vicinity of a Bob Schneider show, you are probably lying. Our introduction to the Austin-based Schneider was kind of heartbreaking, but that's another story for another blog, or maybe we've already told that one. If we did, Google that shit. Either way, he's a solid dude.
He plays here in Houston. A lot. Like, every few weeks, including a show Saturday night at the House of Blues, and another one at McGonigel's Mucky Duck August 4. He has a rabid following that doesn't get sick of his tales of love and woe. He manages to meld those feelings into catchy nuggets of pop-rock and folk. Not too hard, not too soft, with his familiar voice pulling the songs right into the living room of your brain. His newest album, A Perfect Day, came out in April.
(listen to all those dumb, talking motherfuckers at Gruene Hall)
Anyhow, every time he comes to town and we get an e-mail from his people, we have decided to come up with a new topic for him to expound on.In March, we asked him what his favorite albums were, and he gave us the lowdown on his fave Tom Waits, Paul Simon, and Randy Newman albums. That boy loves Tom Waits something fierce, it seems.
This time, we asked him to look back on the best shows he has ever seen since he started seeing live music. This blog marks the second mention of Soul Coughing in two days, and yes, we lead off with Schneider's life-changing Waits experience. We filled in the blanks on some of the concert dates the best we could.
Tom Waits, Paramount Theater, Austin, SXSW, March 20, 1999:
Tom Waits is probably my favorite artist, and I'd never seen him play before, and I heard that his voice was past its prime and I was a little hesitant to even attend this show. I'm glad I ended up going, as I've never heard him in better voice. He had most of his original band from the original recordings and he played all of my favorite songs. I basically cried during every song and went crazy in between songs. The most moving musical experience I've ever had.
Jane's Addiction, Palmer Events Center, Austin, January 1989:
I was a pretty big Jane's Addiction fan and they were considered one of the best bands of that time when I went to the show. There were around 5,000 people there and when they kicked into their first song the entire crowd went ape-shit. It was like a massive hurricane of bodies dancing and moshing and moving. I've never before or since experienced that much energy in one place. They had written all their hits at that point and played them to perfection. They were pretty much like gods up on stage.
Bulgarian Women's Choir, Bass Concert Hall, Austin, Date Unknown:
I had heard of the Bulgarian Women's Choir on the Eklektikos show on KUT, but [was] unprepared for what I experienced the night I saw these women perform. It consisted of mostly just these woman singing together in a way that is unique to them. They sing off-key or use a different note system.
I don't know what the fuck it is, but it sounds strange and incredibly beautiful. I didn't understand the language but understood the emotion in their voices and the songs and was moved to tears. One of those shows where I was experiencing goosebumps the entire show.
Soul Coughing, Liberty Lunch, Austin, April 29, 1995:
When I saw these guys perform they had just released their second album and were opening up for Jeff Buckley, and once again I had the feeling that I might be watching the best live band in the world when they came onstage. A unique, amazing, heady musical experience that was impossible to follow successfully.
Tripping Daisy, Trees, Dallas, May 11, 1991:
I wasn't familiar with them when I saw these guys at Trees. I don't know what I was doing in Dallas. Maybe playing another club. All I know was these guys came on and I got real scared. It was an unknown entity. My favorite feeling when I'm watching someone play music is to not know what the hell is happening or what's going to happen next and I'm scared.
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I was scared the whole show. A few weeks later we were playing a club in town and Tim DeLaughter showed up and jumped onstage and grabbed the mike and was thrown off by security, then went and waited for the sound man to look away and put all the volume faders on ten causing massive feedback before he was kicked out of the club. That's rock and roll.
Bob Schneider plays 8 p.m. Saturday at House of Blues.