BY MICHAEL PASSMAN
In an unexpected move for raunch, Deap Valley (pictured at top, also below) made an early afternoon appearance at ACL. Although it started out slow, they picked up! A voice like Joplin, the garage/blues sound of White Stripes, but with some tasty Zep Riffs on it. I guess Jack White’s sex change was successful!
‘80s Austin legends True Believers played a rousing set that day. These guys have a bigger punk pedigree than anyone! Alejandro Escovedo and Kevin Foley were in The Nuns, which opened up for The Sex Pistols during their 1978 tour, brother Javier Escovedo from The Nuns, John Dee Graham of The Skunks, and Danny DeGorio. With such a history, it was typical Austin that they played on a smaller stage. As usual, the important stuff doesn’t often make the headlines.
The Mavericks followed. Not quite country, not quite rock, and not quite Americana, but an incredible band if one favors any of the three mentioned above and somewhere in between.
The Cure was the headlining act for Saturday. Their review and photos are here. After the official festivities, there were official ACL aftershows, but like the week before, there was a tough choice to make for even better non official shows. There was Austin Corn Lovers Festival headlined by The Hickoids and a Dicks reunion, then there was The Blind Owls, Get Hip Recordings artist The Ugly Beats, and The Ogres, a new project from The Phantom Surfers guru Johnny Bartlett. Two great shows and a personal history for both, but I opted for The Ogres. I got to Continental Club at 11 and missed The Blind Owls, a promising and very young band Beatles inspired band from Corpus Christi, but luckily got in right as The Ogres took the stage.
What can one say about The Ogres? By the picture, one already knows it was fun. Cavemen, faux fur vests, and some great mops to top it off? There’s more. It’s more fun to see a garage band than other types since it’s loud, silly, you can dance to it, but see/hear some great surf mixed in with r&b. It never gets old.
Apparently, they did a mini tour of Texas with The Ugly Beats starting a few days before. I think they ate nothing but barbecue and bought nothing back with them but LOTS of barbeque sauce. Little would one think that a bunch of ogres mainly subside on arugula and artichokes (they’re from California). It’s only fitting that they indulged in a paleo diet!
What was a very brief little Texas jaunt created something really special with The Ogres (and their better halves) and The Ugly Beats. When The Ugly Beats got on stage with The Ogres for their final song, it felt like everybody knew each other and played together regularly. It was great to see so much talent and admiration together that felt like a party at a friend’s house.
An Ugly Beats performance is always fun. Even as a home town band, one looks forward to seeing them and one misses them after a few weeks. Some surf, California psych folk, garage, and powerpop put in together for a great mix.
The Easybeats and The Byrds mixed together, but just when you think you know them, they’ll pull out “You’ll Forget That You Loved Me” or “Slow Death” and throw you for a loop. It’s a little of a let down to see them also since one always wishes they could be on stage longer.
In closing, The Ogres and The Blind Owls joined together on stage for The Easybeats “I’ll Make You Happy.” They did. It felt like the stage was extended to the whole club and everyone joined in. If any ACL Festival goers made it, they considered themselves lucky.
Passman’s Complete ACL Coverage: