Saturday Night: Roky Erickson at the Continental Club
With the arid summer of 2011 fresh in our memories, it's easy to forget that Houston's often a sweaty, swampy mess. Saturday night it was no different, having rained for a week straight.
Though the rain was done by evening, the air was thick and balmy through the night. It was heavy air, the kind that forces folks to smoke their cigarettes faster and down their beers a bit quicker, just to crisp their lips once again.
Inside the Continental Club, the atmosphere was not much different. A swath of bodies had gathered in anticipation, chattering in excitement. They knew what was coming, or at least had been roped in by a knowing friend and were appropriately expectant.
Though he might not lay claim to "household name" status, Roky Erickson is a legend: the storied godfather of psychedelic rock has legions of disciples, including fans as well as followers in his musical footsteps. The crowd assembled at the Continental featured plenty from both camps.
The night followed what has become the familiar pattern for Erickson's shows over the past several years, with the openers playing a standard set before putting in time as Roky's backing band. Saturday it was The Hounds of Baskerville, a raucous blend of bluesy swamp-rock fronted by Roky's son, Jegar Erickson. They were a fitting appetizer, and lent a clue as to what sort of set the night would provide.
After taking the customary break, The Hounds rejoined the stage, playing Roky onto the scene with "Hey Bo Diddley." The crowd cheered, and Erickson grinned. The band switched into "Cold Night For Alligators" and out came Roky's raspy vocals to another big cheer.
The band spent the night powering through big renditions or Erickson's songs, bringing out mostly tunes from his time helming the 13th Floor Elevators and the Aliens. A couple numbers from Erickson's most recent output True Love Cast Out All Evil made it onto the set list, including the wrenching "Goodbye Sweet Dreams."
Jegar shadowed his father most of the evening, adding harmonies and yelping along, while the Hounds' guitarist capably added a bit of flair to the work. They did a fine job, though Jegar needs to work on mimicking Tommy Hall's famous electric jug.