Why You Say Pong?

Categories: Playbill

About a decade ago, Ed Hall staged sweaty, savage shows marked by the Austin trio performing in body paint, bizarro film projections second only to the Butthole Surfers and suffocating psych-punk that made the Black Angels sound like Donovan. Along with Crust and the Cherubs, Ed Hall was one of legendary Texas underground label Trance Syndicate's flagship bands, and were heavily influential on future labelmates ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

A few months after 1995's La La Land, Ed Hall - by then a decade old - decided their eardrums (and day-glo budget) could use a break and packed it in. But once a freak, always a freak, and in 1999 Gary Chester, Larry Strub and Lyman Hardy reconvened, enlisting friends Jason Craig and Shane Shelton to fulfill their crypto-futuristic vision that swapped out bleeping keyboards and rubberized basslines for Ed Hall's twisted guitar symphonies.

They called it Pong, taking their electro-pirate cues from Devo and setting their sights on silly scenesters in songs like "Killer Lifestyle" and developing an unhealthy fascination with robots; their most recent album, 2005's Bubble City, depicted the heroic Owl's struggle to undermine and overthrow the dastardly regime of the mechanized Bubbleheads - mostly through an inordinate amount of rump-shaking.

Pong lands at the Continental Club tonight with neighbors and folk-rock pranksters the Horsies, who were keeping Austin weird back when that still meant something. - Chris Gray


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