Listen Up: Wednesday, September 24, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Riverboat Gamblers

Something to Crow About (Gearhead Records)

I keep getting e-mail from a guy here in the Fort (hiya, Tim-Dog) asking why I stopped writing for the internet sites where I spent five years advocating Detroit-Aussie-Scandi noise (the MC5, the Stooges, and their progeny) before becoming the Weeklyís resident obsessive-compulsive music snob.

The short answer: We won the war. The Stooges, Radio Birdman, and even Turbonegro are back on the boards, and you can hear Stooges and Birdman toons in Toyota tv commercials. The documentary MC5: A True Testimonial is showing in fine theaters everywhere (although still lacking a distribution deal that might bring it to the 817 area code), and Jennifer Aniston appeared on Friends wearing a groovy Five t-shirt.

Another answer: I got tired of listening to this record. Almost as puzzling as the (d)evolution of Dentonís thriving í90s avant-garde scene into a bunch of Garage (with a capital ďgĒ) bands is the Riverboat Gamblersí nationwide success where others of similar ilk have failed. Houstonís Sugar Shack canít get arrested in Space City. San Antonio/Austinís Sons of Hercules, fresh off a bad-ass new record, couldnít draw eight people at Rubber Gloves last fall and recently completed a tour of every shit-dive on the East Coast. The Gospel Swingers canít seem to interest anyone in releasing the dynamite sophomore full-length they cut last year.

And yet ... the Riverboat Gamblers. I feel approximately the same way about these guys as I did about the Hellacopters (another set of Gearhead artistes). Mike Wiebe and his crew display the requisite amount of attitude and project all the onstage energy and excitement you could reasonably ask of a live act. Whatís missing: songs that stick in the mind after the sound and fury have subsided. And Iím surprised to find myself thinking, ďItís not enough.Ē


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