One-Eyed Doll & Vanilla Sugar at Scout Bar, 9/10/2014

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Photos by Jack Gorman
One-Eyed Doll, Vanilla Sugar
Scout Bar
September 10, 2014

A solid but small crowd that gathered at Scout Bar Wednesday night to view the greatest Texas goth-punk band in the world, Austin's One-Eyed Doll. Earlier, around 8 p.m., a line of about 20 or 30 people had waited to meet front woman Kimberly Freeman, who Revolver named one of its "Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock" at the merch table.

The tall, slender brunette wore a trucker hat atop her Crystal Gale-like mane that flowed past her mid-thigh. She hugged each fan and chatted them up as she signed memorabilia and took photographs, before disappearing for a bit and returning to catch opening band Vanilla Sugar right up front.

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UtopiaFest Again Beckons Southwest's Free Spirits

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Photo by Jim Bricker
A scene from UtopiaFest 2013
For the sixth year running, this weekend a little slice of heaven known as UtopiaFest will take over the Four Sisters Ranch in the middle of the Texas Hill Country, just outside the quaint village of Utopia and about two hours northwest of San Antonio, Nearly 2,000 kind folk will be descend on the outdoor camping festival to take in sets starting tonight and going through the wee hours of Sunday morning,

If you missed it last year, I gave you the ten reasons you should go; that's well worth a read, especially if you already plan on attending and have never been, or are on the fence and need a last-minute kick in the ass to make your decision for you.


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The Musical Cream of This Fall's County-Fair Crop

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Photo by Axel Naud via Flickr
Now that's a super moon all right.
If you've been lucky enough to see the so-called "supermoon" the past couple of nights, you know good things are coming: not only cooler temperatures but fairgrounds full of carnival midways, fried foods, beauty pageants, golf tournaments, parades, cookoffs, livestock auctions and top-notch country music. In other words, small-town Texas in all its harvest-season splendor.

Although this season is somewhat overshadowed by that big shootin' match that takes place next to the Dome (which is now just six months away), almost every county that touches Harris is having some sort of officially sanctioned celebration between this weekend and late October; lest we forget, so is Harris County's second-largest city. To salute them, Rocks Off picked out a dozen acts that are worth the short drive outside the Loop to see while eating Frito Pie and drinking light beer from a plastic cup or aluminum bottle. Don't forget those boots, because they might even make you want to dance.


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The Ugly Beats Pick 10 Rare Texas '60s 45s

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Photo courtesy of NightTrain PR
The Ugly Beats aren't nearly as self-consciously cool as many of their Austin musical neighbors, because they don't need to be. Honed by a decade or so of near-constant gigging at 512-area nightspots such as Hotel Vegas, Beerland and the Carousel Lounge, the quintet's garage-pop is as sincere as it is spot-on. Soaked in reverb, surf licks, that eternal Byrdsian jangle and oodles of Farfisa, their songs celebrate the '60s without ever seeming stuck there, while the band keeps them coming at a good enough clip for three full-length albums now, most recently July's Brand New Day (Get Hip).

Lately their Houston visits have been increasing (they'll be back to play Rudz next month), a development most definitely to our liking. In fact, before they play the Big Top Saturday night, the Beats will do a 3 p.m. matinee at Cactus Music as part of the "Peace Love & Rescue" benefit for the no-kill animal-rescue program SMART Rescue. We asked the band's Joe Emery to pick out ten of his favorite rare '60s 45s by Texas bands, and he sent back the following list within 24 hours. That ought to get us all through the lunch hour. Good stuff below...thanks, Joe!


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Southern Rock Gets a New Bible in Southbound

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Capricorn Records
Kings of the Hill -- the original lineup of the Allman Brothers Band: Jaimoe Johanson, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Berry Oakley, Dickey Betts, and Butch Trucks.
While there are plenty of musicians, record collectors and journos who will argue (as only musicians, record collectors and journos can) that all rock is "Southern rock" due to its geographical origins, Southern rock is nonetheless a well-defined genre.

And that genre finally gets its comprehensive Bible in Scott B. Bomar's Southbound: The Illustrated History of Southern Rock (Backbeat Books, 304 pp., $29.99). Insanely detailed with band bios, rare live and publicity photos, and chapters giving the context of Southern rock in both the greater world of music and its '70s heyday, Southbound covers the genre's giants (Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top), mid-level players (Marshall Tucker Band, Atlanta Rhythm Section) and more obscure groups (Cowboy, Grinderswitch).

Recently Rocks Off spoke with Bomar, a researcher and music-industry pro who specializes in reissues, about the book, the bands, and how Southern Rock helped elect a U.S. President.


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Joe Ely + Apple: A Love Story

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Photos courtesy of LC Media
Joe Ely, wisely holding a guitar instead of a shotgun
Improbably, Joe Ely is learning to ease up on the gas pedal a little. The Lubbock-bred performer has long been known for live sets and a work ethic both so intense he's often seen as a Lone Star counterpart to his friend Bruce Springsteen. But Ely, a force in Texas music since his days with cosmic-country trio the Flatlanders, recently wrapped a nice-and-easy Midwestern mini-tour with co-headliner and friend Alejandro Escovedo, and admits he can appreciate not pushing himself into the red all the time.

"I don't have to go through the same things I've already been through," says Ely from his home in Austin, where he has lived since the Flatlanders emigrated from the South Plains in the early '70s. "I've learned through experience. We still love to play, but I don't have to stay on the road the whole year anymore.

"I used to just stay out there," he admits. "One time in Lubbock I went out on a tour, and by the time I came back my car was gone and my house was gone. I was supposed to have been gone for a month and a half, and I was like gone for eight months. One tour led to the other."


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UPDATED: The 10 Biggest Rock Stars Who Live in Texas

Categories: Texas Me

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Carved Management
Note: this article has been amended to remove Ministry's Al Jourgensen, who announced that he moved to Los Angeles in July.

By Chris Gray and Matthew Keever


TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION (Honorable Mention)
Some of our more genteel readers may be wondering who the hell Texas Hippie Coalition even is, not to mention how they landed on a list that purports to (informally) rank the Lone Star State's biggest rock stars. (Note: if not for recent romantic fluctuations, Kelly Clarkson and Robert Plant would have come in at Nos. 4 and 1, respectively.) But THC -- mind those initials -- has amassed quite a following without drawing much mainstream media attention; they have twice as many Facebook fans as the Old 97's, for example.

The Sherman-based badasses recently wrapped a stint on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem tour and are looking ahead to their fourth full-length album, Ride On, in October. Loudly glorifying the outlaw lifestyle in haymaking songs like "Pissed Off and Mad About It" and "Clenched Fist," these hippies ain't the band to come running to for a little peace and love. Those songs come from an album called Pride of Texas (their 2008 debut), if you're looking for a better idea where their heads are at.


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Minute Maid Park Hosting Huge "House Party" in November

Categories: Texas Me

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Photo by Chris Gray
The Eli Young Band presses the flesh with a few fans.
Lately it seems like a week can't go by without another music festival being announced in Houston. This one makes a little more sense than some of those others, though.

Clad in matching custom Astros jerseys, Texas country heartthrobs the Eli Young Band stopped by the picturesque lobby of Minute Maid Park Wednesday evening to shake a few hands announce their plans to bring the "House Party" mini-festival, also featuring the Josh Abbott Band, Thomas Rhett and Cody Johnson, to the former Ballpark at Union Station on Saturday, November 15.

The band also performed a brief micro-set of their hits "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," "Dust" and "Crazy Girl," but not after the four members had met every last one of the several dozen of fans -- mostly young women -- who had won a spot on the guest list through Houston country stations 93Q and 100.3 The Bull. (For what it's worth, the Bull winners were a little louder.) One of the first to make it inside sat at a table near the stage and excitedly told her companion, "shit just got real."


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Seth Walker's 10 Favorite Texas Blues Tunes

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Photo by Zack Smith
Seth Walker should be no stranger to Houston audiences from his many years as one of Austin's hardest-gigging musicians, whose relaxed but precise take on white-man's blues has built an impressive following in this part of the world. (The similarities between him and John Mayer are undeniable, but Walker is much better behaved.)

Last year he relocated to New Orleans after a spell in Nashville and, with Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers producing, cut Sky Still Blue, a stylish collection of new songs that seamlessly weaves the Crescent City's innate funkiness into Walker's well-appointed cocktail-lounge R&B. We were looking for a different way to give his gig at the Mucky Duck tonight some love, so we convinced Walker to send us his ten favorite Lone Star blues songs for a Texas twist on Throwback Thursday.

Pay attention -- this guy knows his stuff.


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The Horror Never Ends for Warbeast's Bruce Corbitt

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Bruce Corbitt of Warbeast
Texas metal singer Bruce Corbitt's career has seen some wicked ups and downs over the last 30 years, from signing record deals and taking on high-profile tours to being fired unceremoniously and watching bandmates pass away in front of his eyes. It hasn't been a lifestyle fit for the faint of heart. But if there's anything useful that low-budget slasher flicks have taught us, it's that a certifiable creature of the night like Corbitt always comes back for one last slice.

So do yourself a favor and watch your throat tomorrow night, because Corbitt will be back in town again at Acadia Bar & Grill with his band Warbeast, the ferocious Dallas-area thrashers who have become a favorite of Gulf Coast metal god Philip Anselmo. The former Pantera front man signed Warbeast to his Housecore Records imprint and released their aptly titled sophomore album Destroy last year before taking them on the road with his sludge supergroup Down.

Now, Warbeast is working on a worthy follow-up to Destroy's heavy, old-school thrash attack. Tomorrow's show is the only one on the band's books until October as they prepare to hole up, bear down and grind out another thick stack of riffs.


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