Wild Weekend Power Pop Fest Explodes in Austin

The Black and Whites live at Hemlock in SF, photo by <a href=
The Black and Whites live at Hemlock in SF, photo by Canderson
posted Thursday Aug 28th, 2008

This weekend in Austin, Texas, the power pop legions will descend into the Lone Star state capital for one of the bravest reunion configurations of the year, resulting in the remarkable first ever US appearance of 70s punk icons, The Boys. While their four albums are pure gold to anyone with a heartbeat, their inability to conquer the United States (and the world, for that matter) in the 70s is one of the biggest tragedies of the twentieth century, and this weekend's show is one I truly regret not being able to witness firsthand. As it looks, the folks that were responsible for the Vegas Shakedown series of "fests" back at the turn of the century are back in motion with their sights turned toward a seemingly easy target, power pop. With some recent rearranging of venues now all settled in place, Friday and Saturday night now hold the official Wild Weekend showcases at Mohawk, and the lineup looks as solid as it gets.

Friday's show kicks off with two of Douche Master Records' finest, Electric Shadows and the simply unstoppable Black and Whites. The Black and Whites recent debut LP hasn't left our turntable in months since it's release, and it's no surprise to see such a strong showing from the Atlanta label's fine roster of modern day pop masters. Pick up everything you can by The Black and Whites before the records are out of print, and get ready to psyche yourself up for Nikki Corvette and most especially, the Pointed Sticks, one of the best pop bands to ever creep out of the Canadian territory. If you've been watching the Sticks' clip in Dennis Hopper's epic film, Out of The Blue just to get yourself prepared, then you're probably not alone, since the reports of their majestic return to the stage at last year's Radio Heartbeat fest were nothing short of stunning. Rightfully headlining the first night are Paul Collins' Beat, one of the more widely recognized and internationally revered pop acts to bust the genre into the big time in the late 1970s, even appearing on American Bandstand alongside Dick Clark, while bands like The Knack, The Cars and The Romantics edged their way into even more mainstream success. As proven with the recent video clips, The Beat have still got it, and will surely cap off an exhilarating evening of pop heaven.

As Saturday's afternoon shenanigans come to rest and the pop mops truck back over to Mohawk for more action, be sure to slam your drinks in a hurry and don't miss out on the sweet-hooked sounds of New York's Baby Shakes as they tear into their glam-pop set, guaranteed to set jaws dropping and eyes popping. These girls really know their stuff and it'd be wrong for you to miss out on their heart-shaped 7" recently released on Rob's House Records for further proof of their Slade/Suzi Quattro affliction that's keeping America up all night. And if you're still primed for authentically-executed pop euphoria, don't miss Atlanta's finest, Gentleman Jesse And His Men as they take the stage and wipe away any objections to the fact that pure pop can still be painfully perfect, and true to its roots. Their debut LP on Douche Master this summer will no doubt go down as one of the year's best LPs, and the crushing power that they administer live is incondensable, so no matter what it takes, don't miss their stellar set for a dose of what modern pop really sounds like. And for another great take on Canadian pop, you can't go wrong with Tranzmitors, one of the only new signings to the recently revived Stiff Records roster, and a righteously tight pop ensemble that makes it all look too easy. Pick up all their singles and LP, as you won't regret it if you're inclined toward Buzzcocky tunes that induce spasms and knock you right off your feet. Do yourself a favor go outside for a breather while Estrus Records' codgers Boss Martians somehow slide into the next spot, and show the world how they kept their old name from the surf-garage days and updated their image to reflect their new pop personalities. Yep, just like when pub rock bands went "punk" in the 70s to try and get noticed, it's as good of a time as any to take a break and get yourself prepared for the stunning sets coming up next.

If you're a fan of Bomp! Records' champions 20/20, get ready to get dropped to the floor as these first wave pop legends have come off the reunion at last year's Radio Heartbeat fest with flying colors, and legions of new fans in tow. And for the first time ever, you will be able to buy the brand new, unreleased archival recordings of their 1980 recordings of "Going Up With My Girl" and "World of Fools" just released as a 7" on Radio Heartbeat Records, at the show. This will be a prime teaser for the upcoming 20/20 LP of unreleased recordings, due out later this year on the same fine label, and picking up the single from the band in person is always the best thing to do. Rounding out this "wild weekend" of pop-filled pleasure are possibly the greatest pop band of the 1970s, The Boys. Casino Steel, Matt Dangerfield, Kidd Reid and Honest John Plain are finally making it over to the US, and it should be one of those life-altering experiences at a show where you don't see straight for days after. If you can even hear the band over the crowd singing along to hits like "Brickfield Nights," "First Time," and "Sick On You," then something might be wrong, but you can bet that with their heavy concentration of knockout hits on their set list, it will undoubtedly be one great show that you just can't miss.

You can still pick up tickets to the fest HERE, and check out some archival video clips below...

Pointed Sticks in the 1979 film Out of The Blue

The Boys' "Terminal Love / See You Later" OGWT 1980\