Friday, July 16, 2010

George Kinney w/Kohoutek - D. Charles Speer & the Helix - Pablonious Bill -- Velvet Lounge - July 15 2010

Pablonious Bill - The name (PB) is the main guy here and his trio has the guitar and drums, with the third member playing two saxophones and a glockenspiel. The sound is kind of lo-fi, indie, folk, blues, rock, americana, etc. I thought they did a nice job of carving out their individual space in these vast realms where it could be easy to get lost. The guitarist/singer had a low-key voice, but his electric guitar was used both for chords and lead runs even during verses when desired. The sax was a little too low in the mix for me, although it did emit a ghostly presence, so I kind of liked it in the end. The drums were steady, songs were good and the band was very well received. And that's cool because these three are really low-key.

D. Charles Speer & the Helix - An interesting look on stage with the bass, drums and singer guitarist nearly in a vertical line. They are flanked by a keyboardist-vocalist and a pedal steel guitarist. I mention that because raucous honky tonk Americana rocking out of the PA does work with both directions. The keys and steel guitar add the country to the mix which I thought may tire me after a while. But that never happened as the three guys in a line really kept things rocking. I thought the balance was excellent and all the musicians were first rate. I liked it best when the steel guitarist strapped on a regular guitar and they rocked even more. He even went back for a solo which was pretty cool as it had a slide-Robbie Krieger feel to it. I should warn everyone that I really have tried to get over my distaste for the pedal steel sound and have gotten much more open to it in recent years. They covered a Jack Rose/Glenn Jones (Cul-de-Sac) song which was nice, as they are one of the many bands (along with the rest of us) that were stunned by his recent death. All in all, a rousing exciting set that went over well here and would succeed almost anywhere.

George Kinney w/Kohoutek - George Kinney was a key part of the fantastic Texas psychedelic scene of the sixties. Although his band, "Golden Dawn" does not have the fame of the 13th Floor Elevators, they were right there in those important formative years. While in school, Kinney was in bands with Roky Erickson. Kinney's Golden Dawn did not make it as far due to a whole different set of problems from the same record label that handled the Elevators. Tonight's set begins just with Kinney playing seven songs on electric guitar with his vocals. He looked and sounded in great shape for a guy that has been doing this since 1966 professionally. He covers a couple of Erickson songs like "Splash 1" and "Right Track Now" (both available as Roky solo tracks on the fantastic 13th Floor Elevators box set). Kinney has a great Texas country-rock voice and plays guitar quite well. He then brings out about half of Kohoutek to join in. It was just the core playing--guitar, bass and drums which was wise to keep it true to the classic garage rock sound. They played some Golden Dawn songs of course, "Who Do You Love", and one more Roky song "She Lives in a Time of her Own". The music was really delivered with classic garage spirit. No surprise that the rhythm section was solid, but I was impressed how both guitarists played so well as if they had been together for years. Kinney took several leads himself and had a great fuzzy blues style that did have me remembering Stacey Sutherland. Clearly there was not a lot of rehearsal as Kinney was "conducting" with his hands at various times (mostly to time endings). That is just all the more impressive. I see a lot of older acts and am often impressed how good they are, and how they are mostly way beyond nostalgia. I usually expect good things when Kohoutek cooks something with a veteran band/performer, but this one was even better than I ever would have expected. Hopefully Kinney will keep playing. I am sure Kohoutek will keep doing great things around here.

Quote of the Night: from the opening band... "This next songs's called 'Repeating Myself'" Then there was a pause while an amp was adjusted. I hope you can guess what he said next.

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