One of the reasons that I could justify a 300 mile trip to see Hank III last week, was that the the opening act was the leaders of the Gothic country movement Those Poor Bastards from Madison, WI. I’ve been a fan of their eerily-produced, self described “Old Tyme Hellfire Music” for a while. Lonesome Wyatt-The Lead Bastard-is a musical genius and mad scientist. But my question was, how would music that relies so much on a barn full of strange organs and voice modulators translate to the live performance? Especially when the band only has two traveling members?
Well my friends, it translated quite nicely, unlike the time I was south of the border and was looking for the “bano” and accidentally ordered more frijoles for my burrito. Pinche Mexico.
With having just a simple overdriven acoustic guitar and a stripped down drum set, Those Poor Bastards did an astounding job giving you that same miserable, downtrodden feeling of their recordings by working with rhythm dynamics and dimensions to really set apart each song, and to set apart parts of the songs themselves. There was a lot of shape, and a tremendous amount of mood to the music as well. And it cannot be overstated that the heart of their music comes from the pipes of Lonesome Wyatt who has an uncanny ability to emit a lot of emotion, whether pain, anger, sorrow, through his voice.
Furthermore Those Poor Bastards translated to the stage visually, something I also thought might be difficult, with their keen attention to themes and moods they use in their cover and tour art. And as for the biggest test, the crowd loved them. My favorites were their live renditions of “Behold the Black Sheep” and “Stay Away From the Forest Boy” from their Hellfire Hymns album.
Another great part of the set was when “Skelton” (Hank III) came literally crawling onto the stage to sing in the “Dark Creepy Voice” that reminded me a lot of III’s oft forgotten project “The Unholy III.”
You can also check out the whole TPB set from the Roxy in LA in the ON DEMAND section HERE.
“It started out just to be a 7″, but we liked it so much we decided to make it a full album.”
I also asked him if he had met Rachel on the “Murder in the Mountains” tour that Section 08 Productions does in Montana each year, and he answered in the affirmative.
By the way, Rachel also has a new song “City of Shame” on her MySpace you should all check out.
I also asked Lonesome who a bigger influence on him was, Hank Williams or Tom Waits. He told me he couldn’t answer that question, but a marriage between these two legendary American artists is a quick way of describing the Those Poor Bastards sound. And though certainly the Those Poor Bastards legend has a very long way to go to parallel those two huge names, their artistry and originality is parallel in style to the greats of country and gothic music.