Like Dogs: Music and Lycanthropy.
Twice every three years the Earth, Sun, and Moon line up perfectly, our planet blocks the light of the sun, and the resulting umbra inflicts a coloration on the moon, if the particles in our atmosphere are just right the moon glows a dark red. The Blood Moon's rare and mysterious appearance conjures up thoughts of the end times, of beastly lycans, prowling in the night, feasting on human eyes and ears, and then disappearing into the darkness, leaving howling echoes of carnage and mayhem behind—Like Dogs' performance, last Friday night inside Hole in the Wall had that feel to it.
Three men stepped onto a stage and unleashed a deliciously unpredictable barrage of musical sounds that seemed to be crushing the walls of the legendary venue located in Austin's "The Drag." For Eric McClure (drums) Austin Weber (bass) and Bryan "SMZNO" Smith (vocals) it was just another evening of extreme intensity, machine-gun-like drum fills, steely basslines, and barking mad vocals that kenneled the audience in a mosh pit of sweat, beer, and euphoria.
"Textures are everything," that is all Austin had to say about his double-duty performance which saw him alternate from steady grooves to arresting leads that filled each crevice in the venue with intoxicating sound. For his part, Eric spoke to me about the tight bond the band has continuously sustained and how for over twelve years he and Austin have evolved as musicians and friends. Bryan was clear in those inspirations that have helped develop the band's "punk funk" style and also echoed the importance of brotherhood.
Among a cloud of smoke and a sea of University of Texas students, these bearded dogs stood out and yet blended in perfectly into a place that has seen the city transform over the years into the live music capital of the world. It dawned on me at that moment that I was in the presence of one of Austin's veteran groups, three men who much like the walls of the historic venue had seen music trends come and go, welcoming it all yet remaining unchanged and churning out live music for its sake and only that.
"We just want to put on a show," Eric told me with a simplicity and honesty that is as rare as the bloodiest moon. Their performance had all the elements of intensity: unpredictability, awkward timing, monstrous sound, and a deep commitment. The band only meets once every year or so as they all lead busy lives that involve family and other passions, however, once in a great while they return to their home atop the aged stages of Austin to take yet another bite out of the place that has seen them grow and which continues to feed their primal instincts. When I asked Austin what he wanted out of this group, in the long run, he simply replied: "I want to play another show." Lucky you if you catch a glimpse of it.