The Spin 

While those three-day holiday weekends are a godsend for almost any working stiff, they often blow their wad as early as Friday, leaving the rest of the weekend in a lull of recovery while us hardcore night-lifers are left feeling unfulfilled.

Psych jamsWhile those three-day holiday weekends are a godsend for almost any working stiff, they often blow their wad as early as Friday, leaving the rest of the weekend in a lull of recovery while us hardcore night-lifers are left feeling unfulfilled. Fortunately, Exit/In had us covered Friday night and filled out the rest of the weekend rather well. We showed up around what we thought was rock o’clock, but what turned out was more like rock:15—the smoke-covered stage was already glowing red and emanating echoes of squealing feedback and droning guitar effects. L.A.’s Warlocks had already taken the stage, and were proceeding to pummel the eardrums and melt the faces off of what looked like a pretty packed room. Closer inspection, however, revealed that everyone was just standing really far apart and thus covering the space of the floor evenly, probably only filling about half the venue’s capacity. The band continued to hum, purr and rumble through a few more mid-tempo, heavily distorted (that’s a good thing), hallucinogenic jams before hanging it up and exiting the stage to a mild roar of applause. Austin’s Black Angels followed up, politely introducing themselves, then quickly launching into their own line of psychedelic retro-rock that dialed back the gain for a slightly cleaner sound than the band before them. Backed by a wall of eyeball-burning visuals, the Angels took the small head-shaking, body-swaying crowd on an old-fashioned journey to the center of the mind with repetitious, brooding, blues-based dirges, visceral, hypnotic drums and enough reverb to rival the Grand Canyon. While it’s a journey none of us hasn’t taken before, it’s still almost always a nice place to visit.

This ain’t no rubber bandWe might have jumped the shark when we declared the second coming of former Funkadelic bassist Billy “Bass” Nelson as the, er, second coming of Billy “Bass” Nelson. It seems that his new backing band didn’t do their homework, and if they did they were studying the wrong fucking texts. Usually we wouldn’t complain about a talented band playing classic P-Funk party chants on a Saturday night, except that Mr. Nelson—the undeniable star of this show—wasn’t in P-Funk when those sing-alongs were originally sung. The band played songs commonly, and rightfully, associated with the eccentric genius and latter-day P-Funkateer Bootsy Collins, and frankly we’re a bunch of cranky record nerds that take umbrage with this major motherfuckin’ faux pas. C’mon guys, you’re obviously fans, you should know the difference between the mind-bending, freewheeling innovation of the first three Funkadelic albums and the formulaic disco fluff of the latter period catalog. Right? It seems to us that if you’re going to play a show with one of the most influential architects of modern sounds, you might want to play songs from his catalog rather than the guy that replaced him. It’s just a matter of respect. We don’t care how many floor toms your drummer brought with him. That being said, we could watch Mr. Nelson play Katy Perry covers all night and we would be happy as a pig in shit. That guy is a master instrumentalist, watching him work is a beautiful thing and we’re very happy to have him here in town. Let’s just hope that he can find a band that knows their shit sooner rather than later.

Starry night“My name is Ringo and this is the All-Starr Band,” said Ringo Starr Sunday at the Wildhorse Saloon, wearing a spangly shirt, dark jacket and jeans at the outset of what was a night for the ages. Or the aged. “A buncha old guys on that stage,” pointed out a nearby fan located on the second floor. True, but those old guys included a combo of fellas who occupy a lot of classic-rock radio: Colin Hay (Men at Work), Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Billy Squier, Gary Wright and Gregg Bissonette. Together, they offered up a showcase of jukebox heroes—“The Stroke,” “Down Under,” “Who Can It Be Now”—that garnered a raucous response from the fading days of vinyl LPs. Of special note was Edgar Winter, whose multi-instrumental wizardry and blues-spattered soul very nearly overshadowed the whole shebang, and that’s even before he launched into “Frankenstein.” But of course, it was Starr—and the memory of that other band he played for—who brought folks there. And the smiling, bouncing ringmaster of this rock ’n’ roll oldies variety show didn’t disappoint, delivering “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Never Without You” and “Photograph” from his solo days and Beatles’ classics like “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Yellow Submarine,” “What Goes On” and “Act Naturally.” When he was front and center, his backers played their roles as a tight, well-rehearsed troupe of old pros who did their part to draw wild applause and even a few rebel whoops and hollers like you’d hear at a Skynyrd show. But it was hard to take your eyes off Starr as he bounced his head to the beat and worked the sticks from behind the drum kit. Sure, there was a lot of white hair out there (for those lucky enough to still have hair). And there were plenty of bellies straining against those $40 souvenir T-shirts. But Ringo’s refusal to vanish from the stage and hide in the dark waiting for the obligatory encore was refreshing. “You know we’re coming back,” he said. “We know we’re coming back. So what’s the point?” Starr asked, before leading the All-Starrs in “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which segued into John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” When did you ever think you’d have a chance to sing with a Beatle?

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