The Gringos have a powerful mythos from days gone by, revolving around their late frontman Tom "Pepe Lopez" Foote (namechecked in the Me-Thinks' song "Burnout Timeline"), their old pad Gringo Manor, hay bales, corndogs, and Schaefer beer. In their current incarnation, they're surprisingly slick and pro, with matching sparkle-toned Music Man guitars in the colors of the Mexican flag, a giant sombrero, and stage patter right out of Gig magazine. I particularly dug lead guitarist (former bassist) Grant's guitarissimo on an axe with three P-90s. The sound at the Moon was the clearest I've ever heard there, too; another plus. It was a real treat to hear the Gringos play faves like "Mezcal Breakfast," "Ain't No Corndogs," "Nurture My Pig," and the song of the evening, Doug Sahm's "Texas Ranger Man," which the Hickoids also covered. (I suggested to Marlin that the Me-Thinks should do it to, to make a trifecta. "I wish we could," he said.)
The Hickoids have an illustrious history similar to the Gringos', an odyssey of messy psychedelic punk, leaving tales of legendary depradations, fallen bandmembers, and flying bales of hay in their wake. Consisting of up to seven musos, they brought a stripped-down lineup to the Moon, leaving those members whose instrumental colors highlight the country side of their sound (pedal steel, harmonica) back at home. Guitarist Davy Jones (an affable cat a little older than me whose first concert was Hendrix, when he was 14) also left his guitar at home in Austin. He told my sweetie that his girlfriend walked 13 blocks and jumped a fence to peer in a window to make sure it was still there. Now _there's_ a keeper! He performed on a borrowed PRS with a Fender neck and made a beautifully anarchic sound, oozing with punk, psych, and country elements.
Head Hickoid Jeff Smith's the consummate frontman, and his performance was like a catalog of classic glam-punk frontman moves. (Ray sez his Stoogeaphilia stage trip is completely cribbed from Jeff.) He took the stage barechested, wearing duct tape pants with a "mangina," looking like a cross between '73 Iggy and Alice Cooper when he was still scary. When he sang an hilariously feelthy song about a steamy night at San Antonio's Tacoland, you could practically smell the sex and funk. The Hickoids are entertaining and funny in the same way as the Gringos, but there's a lot more _danger_ in their show. They're one of the best and most individuated punk bands currently treading the boards. Besides the aforementioned "Texas Ranger Man," they also played their versions of Elvis' "Burning Love" and Sir Elton's "Bennie and the Jets," the latter a highlight of their new Kicking It With the Twits platter, of which I now own a red vinyl copy that's been chasing all the other records away from my turntable. (Thanks, Jeff!)
Saturday arvo, my sweetie 'n' I joined T. Horn for lunch at Carshon's deli before heading over to Landers Machine Shop for the Arts Goggle event where HIO and the li'l Stoogeband would perform. The space has come a long way since HIO last played there in November. A lot of clutter has been removed, and a couple of spaces rented out to a dance studio and a local politico's campaign headquarters. The event was better attended than last fall's; it seems there are more businesses open and buildings being refurbished in the area, too -- a good thing. Breaking Light had some power problems, so we helped him move to another location in the big room where he could run his amp without blowing the circuit. He played some nice stuff along with the drummers who accompanied the hula hoop people. HIO set up and played there, too, before the dude that donated the PA showed up to make things work onstage.
HIO performed with Denton's Big Rig Dance Collective for the second time. We like working with the dancers, and it makes us less prone to meander, which probably makes our noises more accessible to civilians. They seem to like working with us as well, and they told Hickey while we were loading out that they have an event planned at Dan's Silverleaf on August 19th that they'd like us on board for. Terry also spoke to a woman who's apparently an internationally known improvisational dancer, affiliated with TCU, who expressed interest in doing something with HIO. He gave her a Sustrepo CD. Film, as they say, at 11.
Austin Craver, who put the event together, asked if the Stoogeband would play later than scheduled so the band that donated the PA could play before us, so we got to hang out and socialize for an extra hour while the last band loaded in their shit. The sound in the big room was surprisingly good, in a cavernous, echoey kind of way. It made the other bands I heard sound HUGE; perhaps it did for us as well. I broke the low E string on the Epiphone on the first song. The Telecaster sounded really thin, and my cord kept falling out until Rat from the Asian Media Crew found a roll of duct tape and I was able to tape it in place. Perhaps I need to take my long-suffering axes to the cat that was able to fix Hembree's shattered Fender in a week for just $90, including some things that Matt didn't even know were wrong.
Teague had some problems with his kick drum wanting to travel, too, but we managed to play through the whole setlist (minus "1970," which is probably the hardest song for us to play, for some reason). Now we just need to wait and find out what our slot is for the FW Weekly Music Awards thingy on June 26th (we're playing at 7th Haven again), and see if we can do another Caves Lounge show a little earlier in the month (which is doubtful, as Richard and Elle's baby is due around that time). In the interim, perhaps we'll have time to reactivate "Ain't It Fun." (And note to self: Remember to include "Looking At You" in the next setlist.)