Sunday, November 01, 2009


(Editor's Note: most people familiar with the BLOG TO COMM "universe" will undoubtedly recall who Paul McGarry is. A longtime friend as well as onetime contributor to the BLACK TO COMM fanzine of yore, Paul is one guy who stands up tall, never lets you down and is more or less front and center when called to action. Which is why he wrote this review of none other than Roky Erickson's visit to his [Paul not Roky's] hometown Hamilton Ontario this past week and decided to share his impressions with all of us. Y'see, I blackmailed him!)

This was not your typical Tuesday night in the Hammer. Legendary Texas Shaman Roky Erickson was in town for one of two Canadian dates. "This Ain't Hollywood" was the club of choice for the gig and was the perfect venue for the "Roky Revue." The place was decked out in its Halloween best, with a lit Jack-O-Lantern on the actual stage. The club had been a drinking establishment since 1893 and had changed hands numerous times over the many years and is now the best kept secret for live music in Hamilton.

I got there just in time to see the opening act's sound check. There were a few regulars hanging around, but you could feel the energy of the club getting ready for something special. I wandered around a little, checking out the Roky merchandise table and a trip to the classic looking wooden bar, which has propped up many an elbow in it's day. It was nice to see some of my old friends there that I hadn't seen since the last legend (Cyril Jordan) pulled into town a few months back.

The opening act blew through their set and promised Roky would be here shortly, following a stage makeover. The scene was set, the place was pretty much filled up with the likes of some Teenage Heads and Simply Saucers, a Mole was also spotted in the house. Can't be a great gig without a Mime and Old Drunk Guys doing tricks to add to the festivities.

The crowd shifted towards the stage area as the hustle and bustle of the stage door produced what appeared to be three young dudes and their Grand Dad making their way to the front....oops my mistake that wasn't Gramps, that was Roky Erickson slightly plump and in full grey beard. They took the stage, there was some smiles and waves and then it was strictly business. Roky and his merry men pummeled through a set list that would make even a Zombie smile, including opener "Cold Night For Alligators", "Creature With The Atom Brain", "The Wind And More" and "Starry Eyes". Need I say more? Decked out in his Hawaiian shirt, Erickson delivered his unique blend of Horror Rock to the audience with a new found confidence that was great to see. His band of young guns, (nobody over 30) brought a solid beat and a no-nonsense approach to give Roky everything he needed in supporting the songs.

From the first chords of "Cold Night For Alligators" until the final screams of "You're Gonna Miss Me" the voice was in it's finest form. That's the one thing that Roky could always count on and it didn't let him down tonight. Finally the evening had to come to an end as he left the stage to a roar from a satisfied audience. It was now time to get back to the real world for all us non-aliens. As I drove home I realized this was a once in a life time experience for me, who knows when Roger Kynard Erickson will cross my path again. I been listening to his records for 30 years, and to see the former 13th Floor Elevator Visionary in the flesh gave me a reverberation I'll never forget!

1 comment:

Mr. Goldblog said...

Yeah I saw Roky last October in Dallas, Texas. He's still got it. His voice and guitar playing all intact.