THE FLESH EATERS: Continental Club Austin, TX 2/22/19

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So, the Flesh Eaters got the classic lineup back together and out on tour they went, so I obviously had to go see them. There were two other bands playing that night, Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers, and Churchwood, but I really was there for just one band…the Flesh Eaters! I was looking forward to this show since I heard they were coming to my very extended area, but some mishaps were presented to me that night.

 

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I live around an hour away from Austin, so I had to fight the traffic to get there, as expected it was crappy, but I made it to Austin. Of course, the next obstacle was to find the venue which I had never been to before. I got to the venue, saw that the parking was this ridiculous “back into the spot while blocking traffic style,” which no one would let me do, and I nearly got hit by a car trying to do it. Luckily, there was a side street close to the club and after parking on the street there, I was off to the show. Walking in, I showed my identification and the email pass that I had and of course, I was not on the list…sigh. After a bit of back and forth, I was inside! The show was on! The band blazed through old songs with the energy of guys a third of their present age, reminding me of the old days back in the 80s, which is what the club was like. They played their two new songs, “Black Temptation” and “Ghost Cave Lament” with emotion and the crowd accepted them as if they had always been part of the set. While playing on the cramped stage, the band gave a performance that was smoldering, energetic, and full of raw emotion. Playing some covers as well, especially the fantastic take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi.” That song was a definite highlight. With banter from lead singer Chris Desjardins, the songs got some explanation and some fun stories about the past. According to the club’s website, they were to only play for around 45 minutes, but they played longer than that and I was in heaven. The sound was a bit off, with a lot of high-end making it a bit hard on the ears at times, but the band’s performance more than made up for that. The saxophone and marimba really gave the band such depth and added a lot to the sound. I really have to give it to Dave Alvin whose guitar playing was tremendous, with such flair and technique, drummer Bill Bateman pounding away in the back and the thick and fluid bass work by John Doe. These guys have proven through the years just how good they are at playing in their own bands and really shined in this setting.

This was a great night, despite some not so fun things that happened, but the good thing is that the band took the negatives and turned my face into a great big smile, and a memory that I will cherish. Thanks for the great night guys, and many more for the future.thumbnail (5)

https://www.flesheaters.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theFlesheaters/

http://www.yeproc.com/

http://www.facebook.com/yeproc

http://continentalclub.com/

 

THE FLESH EATERS: I Used to Be Pretty

 

The Flesh Eaters, LA’s unconventional “supergroup”, reunites classic 1981 lineup of founding vocalist and songwriter Chris Desjardins — better known as Chris D, Dave Alvin (guitar) and Bill Bateman (drums) of the Blasters; John Doe (bass) and D.J. Bonebrake (marimba and percussion) of X; and Steve Berlin (saxophones) of the Plugz (and later the Blasters and Los Lobos) for I Used to Be Pretty.  On five of the album’s 11 tracks, Julie Christensen, Desjardins’ vocal partner in The Flesh Eaters’ successor band Divine Horsemen, latter-day editions of the original group, and in married life joins in. The Flesh Eaters were among the groundbreaking bands that emerged from the original Hollywood punk club the Masque in 1977, and after using different musicians on early recordings, this is the lineup that holds the most love from fans.

“Black Temptation” is one of two new tracks on here and starts things off with a slow burn that builds to a crescendo and the band is totally on point with a great rocking track to start things off. The other new song is the last one, “Ghost Cave Lament” and what a doozy it is coming in at over 13 minutes long. The track is just amazing with the sax, marimba and the tortured vocals making this a modern-day version of the Doors “The End.” The two new songs show that these guys are every bit as talented as they were on their older album and gives hope for more in the future. Six tracks on I Used to Be Pretty offer forceful reinterpretations of previously released Flesh Eaters songs. “Pony Dress” from the compilation Tooth and Nail (1979), “My Life to Live” and “The Wedding Dice” appeared on Forever Came Today (1982); “Youngest Profession” on Dragstrip Riot (1991); “House Amid the Thickets” on Ashes of Time (1999); and “Miss Muerte” was the title track of the most recent Flesh Eaters album. All of these songs have been updated, but not drastically changed, just given a new sheen from these great musicians, kind of fine-tuning them if you will. They also have three covers on this album; Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi,” The Sonics “Cinderella” and The Gun Club’s “She’s Like Heroin To Me.” The covers have the power and guts that this album has given us in spades. The band sounds as though they had never stopped playing together all these years and the dual vocals added so much to the songs.

Tough playing, vocals that are gruff when needed, and having saxophone on an album again just, made me so happy and filled my ears with joy. For a band that hasn’t been on the public’s radar for a long time, I hope that this album changes that. This is a mandatory release for those who want some old/new, punky/swampy music that will get into your soul and lift you up and put a smile on your face.

https://www.flesheaters.com/

https://www.facebook.com/theFlesheaters/

http://www.yeproc.com/

http://www.facebook.com/yeproc