Monday, October 22, 2007

The Ugly Beats: Live n' Wild

The Ugly Beats
Emo's, Austin Saturday October 13

This was going to be a review of the Ugly Beats' headlining gig at Lambert's on Friday night, but I couldn't make it to that show, so instead I'll review their performance from the week before, when they opened for Holly Golightly at Emo's. Having just returned from a brief East Coast tour, the 'Beats hit the stage a little late but wasted no time in rocking the hometown crowd with the title track from their Take a Stand With the Ugly Beats album on Get Hip. I realize the prevailing dance craze these days is the "stand & nod," but I couldn't resist doing the frug and the jerk.

Despite an indifferent sound mix and little or no monitors, the band did not disappoint, packing their hour-long set with groovy group originals and well-chosen covers like the Easybeats' "I'll Make You Happy," the (Amsterdam) Outsiders' "Filthy Rich," and Barry & the Remains' "Let Me Through."

Vocals were shared among the group, with Joe Emery handling most of the leads, Jason pitching in on the harmonies, with Jake and JStephen each getting a solo turn. After the band finished the ace ballad "Million Dollar Man," Jason quipped, "Buy the record so you can hear how the harmonies are supposed to sound."

The Ugly Beats were joined on stage by Frank Pugliese of San Antonio's Sons of Hercules, whom Joe referred to as "the best garage band in Texas," for a rousing rendition of the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." Pugliese, who stands about 6' 7", towered over Emery, and left the mic stand two heads taller when he left the stage, making for a funny sight gag. Joe readjusted the stand and carried on, kicking out some more hip-shaking garage jams from Take a Stand and Bring on the Beats!

All in all, an excellent set from a great band. Look out for the Ugly Beats' upcoming appearance on "The Mal Thursday Show" on the Podcast, featuring a group interview, rare live cuts, and their favorite nuggets.

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