The crowd roared in confirmation when Flametrick Subs singer/guitarist Buster Crash asked if there were any native Texans in attendance. “In Austin, everyone just looks around,” he replied. Sure, this was an observation about the demographic differences between the two cities, but here we were in Dallas taking in two great Austin acts, the Subs and industrial-metal lunatics, Skatenigs. The two bands have extensive histories, but have only recently been teaming up for shows. If you think it’s an odd pairing of rockabilly and industrial, well you just don’t know enough about either band. Yes, their styles are different. But, they share a common spirit of irreverent sleaze.
Skatenigs took the stage a little after 10:00, following a solid set from Dallas’s own The Death of Rock-n-Roll. Opening with the Revolting Cock’s song “Beers, Steers, and Queers” set the tone for the rest of the bands set of depraved and wicked tunes. If you’re unaware of the connection, Skatenigs leader, Phil Owen, sang the original track on RevCo’s classic recording back in 1990. The small stage at Three Links could barely hold the quintet, but that didn’t stop them from putting on an excellent performance. Owen was in fine form and his voice sounded strong and confident. The band played songs across their discography, from their debut album, Stupid People Shouldn’t Breed, to their last release, 2016’s Adult Entertainment For Kids. It seemed like the crowds response grew stronger the deeper into the set they went, but Skatenigs were putting it all out there first song to last. Owen has recruited a strong group of musicians for the current incarnation of the band. Indeed, they nailed everything precisely, be it “Horny for Evil,” “Chemical Imbalance,” or “Stick It In.”
Drenched in red lights, the Flametrick Subs took the stage to a full house that was properly warmed up and primed for their set. Crash, along with Lefty DeMarco on bass and Moriarti October on drums, were flawless as they mixed songs throughout their career with covers by The Cramps (“Can’t Find My Mind”) and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Indeed, their cover of the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand” was a highlight. Considering the original features six musicians, the trio admirably pulled this off without organs, pianos, and other instruments fleshing out the ominous and creepy song. Crash’s solo was note perfect and the band created considerable atmosphere between the three of them. Not surprisingly, “Lee Harvey” was a hit with the local crowd, but everything they played was met with an enthusiastic response. The band may be known locally as an Austin band, but they long ago established themselves in Dallas as a must-see. Their set Saturday featured all the rock, swing, and grit that has earned them this reputation.
Whether they are playing together or separately, you can always count on Skatenigs and Flametrick Subs to put on a great show. Saturday night was no exception. Both bands play Dallas fairly frequently, so you should make a point of catching them next time they’re in town – hopefully sooner, rather than later.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Carson Allen (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –