Words and Photos by Laura Roberts
The ceiling in Emo’s ceiling is high. High enough to house a stage and lights that look like they could pick-up a gig in Zilker during the month of October. Which works, because the voice that’s currently streaming from the speaker spines on this Saturday in May will indeed be seducing ACL wristbands come fall.
“That’s alright, Mama, that’s alright with me…”
Black Pistol Fire
Black Pistol Fire’s lead singer Kevin McKeown slices through a few of the King’s lyrics as his hands grope the neck on his guitar. McKeown’s voice has the same quality of pleading as his fellow sometimes-resides-in-Texas crooner Ryan Bingham. McKeown also has that back-throated rawness possessed by the man known to the world as Ray Lamontange.
Positioned behind the brown-bangs-in-my-face McKeown sits another mob of hair with sticks. Drummer Eric Owen is shirtless, with short-ass aqua running shorts and hands like a wind-up monkey on speed.
Both men’s eyes and heads are bent down over their respected instruments, almost as if they’re drinking in the music they’re spewing out.
Makes you wanna grab a straw yourself.
American-colored Budweisers adorn fists that don’t already have “Hook ‘em Horns” fingers in the air.
The white lights dance around in anticipation and three figures emerge onto the stage.
A triumphant rumble swells in the room.
“Washhhhhhhhhhhh!!” the curly brown fro answers back and the heavy-drum ridded “Dimension” from the 2006 self-titled album Wolfmother floods the room.
Wolfmother lead singer Andrew Stockdale has a strong resemblance to Bob Ross (“We don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents”, smiling host of PBS’ The Joy of Painting).
His voice has a striking resemblance to that of another curly-haired head: Robert Plant. Throw in a White splash of Jack and you’ve got the cocktail known as Stockdale.
Stockdale and his musicians—Ian Peres (bass/keys) and Vin Steele (drums)—do a guitar-heavy, “She don’t mind!” number from their 2009 Cosmic Egg before quickly sliding into the Grammy-winning/Hangover II trailer diddy “Woman”. Moving mouths and hands reach over the photo pit rail rallying “Woman!!!!!” as the multitudes behind them follow suit.
The crowd is heavy with testosterone and beards, but a handful of dutiful girlfriends are present in front of a barrel chest or two.
A couple of gray haired ladies are also illuminated in the crowd as the blue and yellow lights bounce around the stage.
Early Mother’s Day bonding moments?
The silver-haired ladies lap up the music and Stockdale’s watermelon-sliced smile with acute interest in their eyes.
To the left of Stockdale, Peres and his thin frame compete with the white bass he’s busy shredding.
They’re about tied in that department.
Peres’ dishwater-tinted curls fall past his shoulders and the bandana tied around his head ties in the whole Christ-with-a-crown-of-thorns look.
Peres likes to take large dinosaur steps while hunkered over his instrument, but predominantly stays in his corner of the stage. Peres will also sling his bass onto his back in one swift movement (strap strongly secured), and take to pounding on the staggered keyboards in front of him, Phantom-of-the-Opera style.
It’s hard to take your eyes off this extremely engaging orchestration.
But your eyes steal away for a minute, because Stockdale has taken to the front of the stage.
Stockdale pushes his hands up in the air with an amused grin on his face—Texas might not be his hometown (the men hail from Australia), but this ain’t his first rodeo.
Hands across the city of bodies immediately shoot up in a knee jerk fashion, mirroring their grinning leader.
A field of human pitchforks is now present.
“You ready for a hoedown, Texas,” Stockdale spouts and starts into the closest thing the band has to a Texas-country beat, tapping out “Vagabond” and palms across the area collide together.
Later on in the evening, Stockdale does another Simon Says with the crowd: hands up, waving from here to there in 90’s-style, “Hey, Ho” fashion.
The dutiful pitchfork hands follow in exact form.
It’s around the time the guys are introducing their new song “Tall Ships” that a red V-neck in the sea of faces decides a mosh is in order. He looks to his flannel and alligator shirt friends for assistance.
Their answer is a resounding “Yes”.
By the time the band is driving into their “Love Train,” the human pillow fighting has picked up, with bodies in proximity joining in—whether they want to or not.
A gray shirt with a dangling SLR camera attempts to skirt away.
Not so fast.
Like a bowling ball heading towards ninepins, gray shirt is pummeled into an unsuspecting group of much shorter concert-goers. A little disheveled, but compensated with the closer view, SLR stays put.
On stage, the men of the Wolf are going into their closing number of “Colossal.”
Alligator, red V, flannel neighbors and the men of shorter stature mosh on. Gray shirt has been human sling-shotted yet again while trying to escape the flailing bodies.
But again, the body sacrifice is rewarded with a front spot against the barricades.
Well worth it.
The final chord is plucked. The pitch fork hands go up, and cheers are abundant.
The men wave and exit from view.
The moving bodies fumble in a moment of anticipation.
Could it be?
Could they be leaving without…
No. Not tonight. Not in Austin.
A few baited breaths later, the figures emerge onstage and merge into an all-too-familiar-guitar diddy.
“We are not going, home,” two charcoal-haired girls shriek from the front, eyes and heads rolling back in a Herbal Essence commercial sort of way.
“The Joker and the Thief” strains over the sea of closed eyes, as heads bob towards the stage like flailing fish reeled in from Lake Travis.
The hooks in the mouth taste nothing short of free.