Brent Amaker and the Rodeo are back from tour now, but as their hangovers and drugs wear off, they've been sending in reports —Eds.
The weekend is finally here. The show tonight is the one I’ve been anticipating the most, not only because we're playing with our friends, Los Skarnales, but because my brother (who I haven’t seen in probably four years), will be at the show. Austin is like New Orleans on the weekends; all you have to do is walk down 6th street and let the night happen. We met up with my brother at the club, caught up a little bit, played a good set, and then proceeded to get completely obliterated. Amazingly, I maintained a resemblance of an intelligent human being long enough to see two of the greatest bands I have seen in a long time.
Before our last tour, where we first met Los Skarnales, I had no idea that such a thing as “Latin ska” even existed. The sound they've developed is a completely unique blend of ska, traditional Latin music, and R & B. They are in no way a revival act or a jokey third-wave ska band, but perhaps the most legitimate and powerful musical trajectory around right now.
They hit the stage like an explosion and leave you transfixed in a state of awe and disbelief. Watching them that night, I just kept thinking, “THIS, is the best fucking music on planet earth right now. This is the new American music that nobody seems to know about." I really felt like I was like seeing Elvis in 1955.
Radio La Chusma went on before Los Skarnales, and they were amazing as well, but with a completely different take on Latino ska. What struck me the most about both bands was the incredible level of musicianship of virtually every member. We live in an era where we’ve become accustomed to laptops on stage and indie rockers who pride themselves on not knowing how to play, and here are these young Latino musicians who can completely tear down the fucking joint with their chops alone. They make the latest indie-folk darlings or electro-pop scenesters look like little fucking children, like amateur hour! I would love to see a bill like this Seattle so they could show the kids how it’s done. I would challenge anyone to see them and not be instantly converted into a fan. They are completely un-fucking deniable. After the show I left with a feeling of having witnessed something historic, and I feel extremely lucky to have been there to see it.
The energy of the set kept me relatively sober until I stepped outside and found myself reduced to a slobbering, incoherent fool. I haven’t been this smashed since my Grape Nehi debacle over a year ago at the Snoqualmie Ski lodge. Although the hotel was only a couple of blocks from the bar, I required Sugar's guidance to find it. If you can imagine… two cowboys dressed in black, arm in arm, and one of them has a handle bar mustache, leather vest, and cop shades, and is named Sugar McGuinn. You can probably estimate the magnitude of shame a normal person would feel being witnessed in that state walking into the lobby of the Omni hotel in Texas. But not me, ‘cause that’s the way we roll!
…By the way… Sugar has been known to hump my leg on stage!