fat white familyFat White Family

London’s Fat White Family are the only band that matters. Born in 2011, Fat White Babies really, the six-piece has already won the contest. They got it all. Two guitars, bass, and drums weave VU, Stones and Brian Jonestown Massacre. Keyboards bring an eeerie dark element. But Fat White Family would never be what they are without lead singer Lias Saoudi: sinewy thin with grotesque fashion and just scary enough in a beautiful way. On Monday he came out in a military vest covered in large bullets. Soon he was topless with some poorly sized sweatpants that he pulled up to his tiny nipples. Periodically he would slide his hand downstairs and briefly masturbate. In Austin I assumed it was part of the show, but now I ain’t so sure, perhaps it’s unconscious. Comparisons to Iggy are obvious (minus the self-mutilation), but he also has a country swagger that brings flashbacks of LA’s dearly departed Wiskey Biscuit.

fat white family 2Fat White Family

fat white family 3Fat White Family

jeffrey lewisJeffrey Lewis

Jeffrey Lewis was a little overwhelming but mind-blowing, like hearing early Dylan for the first time. Most songs contained a few thousand words. There were stories of his neighbors “Scowling Crackhead Ian” and “Sad Screaming Old Man”: naked truth, flecked with humor, but ultimately pretty devastating. “History of Communism” included a slideshow of hand-painted images that summed up the Vietnam War in three minutes, better than all my history professors did in the last 30 years. Lewis is a seriously busy dude. He has more than 20 records of this stuff plus a huge series of beautiful comic books known as Fuff. Last year he made a record with the great Peter Stampfel (of The Holy Modal Rounders)! He has played with Kimya Dawson and The Moldy Peaches, and there are some similarities of style. His spoken word “WWPRD” (“What Would Pussy Riot Do?”) was another highlight, heavy stuff, right on target. Amen.

jeffrey lewis history lessonJeffrey Lewis’ “History of Communism”

shannon and the clams surpriseShannon and the Clams

The biggest surprise of the evening was the opening act. Although nothing was listed on the morning of the show, when I called to check set times, they said The Chuckleberries were playing. Walking in the door it was clear that Shannon and the Clams were on stage! After their unbelievable Metallica tribute three nights before at Leo’s for Total Trash, one might expect them to be lying on the couch, but no – they were at the Rickshaw. Despite cries for “Master of Puppets,” the Clams only gave a taste, before returning to their usual gorgeous selves playing “Rat House” and “The Cult Song” to a delighted audience.