Goin’ ‘batty’ over Deadman, Los Autenticos

Here's a shot of the bats. Best I could do with a cheap camera. Had to mess with the photo in GIMP. Otherwise it would be black on black.

Last Saturday I went to the 6th annual Batfest in Austin. They closed off the Congress Ave. Bridge (now the Ann Richards Bridge, though I’ll probably never learn to call it that) and filled it with folks in booths trying to sell things, bounce houses for the kids, plenty of food & drink, and at each end of the bridge there was a stage. The south end had Mexican and Tejano music; the north end was all about the rock ‘n’ roll. Free admission. Just pitched in a dollar donation for Bat Conservation International.

It gave me a chance to do something I hadn’t done in a long time: watch the bats fly out from their famous colony under the bridge. And something I’d been meaning to do for a long time: check out a really great local band called Deadman. I also got irresponsible and ate carnival food: turkey meatball curry (which I spilled on my shirt) and a funnel cake. At least I refrained from getting the chicken fried bacon. And I saw a good band called Los Autenticos de Tierra Caliente that I thought might be from Mexico that turned out to be from Cedar Park, my current stomping grounds.

Deadman rocks out at Batfest, Aug. 21, 2010

I’ve been a fan of Deadman for a long time, but in the years since I first discovered the group, it has evolved into something a bit different. It used to be the project of Steve and Sheryl Collins, who at one time lived in McGregor, near Waco, and had a little cafe. They divorced and Steve moved to Austin, where he now performs as Deadman with a group of excellent musicians. Sheryl, whose last name is now Segrest, is performing in Fort Worth.

The first version of Deadman, at least based on the two CDs I bought, Paramour and Our Eternal Ghosts, was what I would call alternative-country in the same vein as the Handsome Family. Very atmospheric. Made me think of Daniel Lanois and The Cowboy Junkies.

What I heard Saturday had a rootsy, bluesy, country rock aesthetic. Although there was an obvious Neil Young influence (one of the songs Steve said was an attempt to capture the style of Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Rust Never Sleeps), the main influence I heard was The Band. There was also a country gospel sound. Some songs in fact had definite Biblical themes: “Brother John” and “Oh Delilah.”

It was definitely enough to make me want more, and since Deadman is now based in Austin, playing frequently at the Saxon Pub, I don’t have a lot of excuses.

Here’s a video to give you idea of Deadman’s sound:

Hmm, I still hear some Lanois in that…

Check out the band’s website: DeadmanOnline.com

Los Autenticos de Tierra Caliente, based in Cedar Park, Texas.

And more on the first band I heard when I first showed up: Los Autenticos de Tierra Caliente: Very good. Mostly fast-paced stuff, merengue with a Mexican spin, plus conjunto and norteno type music. They substituted keyboards for the bass and accordion, which I kind of missed, but that’s fairly typical of north-of-the-border Tejano bands. They had a couple of really good trombonists.

Check them out on their MySpace page.

Also look at all the people down by the Austin American-Statesman office waiting for the bats to come out. The crowd of people who turn out for the bats is probably more of a trip for me than the animals themselves. That was early too. Lots more were on the grassy knoll and on the bridge rail by the time the critters went out to feed.

Batty humans.

Oh and… Also saw Batman:

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3 Comments

Filed under alt-country, country, folk, indie, live show, music, rock, roots, video, world music

3 responses to “Goin’ ‘batty’ over Deadman, Los Autenticos

  1. This post really brought back memories of my time in Austin earlier in the year. It was around the end of February, so, although I hung out around the bridge, it was just a little too early for the bats. There’ll be three songs inspired by this city on my new album.

  2. Yep, the bats don’t turn up till at least March or April. There were quite a lot of them Saturday. I also found out that it’s better to watch them from below than from the bridge. They didn’t come out until it was quite dark already and they flew toward the trees and then out. Black on black until someone took a pic with a flash. Last time when I watched them from the Statesman property you could see the bats silhouetted against the sky, even though it was dark.

    Somebody was renting out kayaks. That would be a good way to see them. So would one of those boats like you could see in the top photo.

    I’m worried about that white nose disease that’s been killing bats in other parts of the U.S. Hope the little guys can hang in there. I would miss them, plus it would be bad for the ecosystem if they went away.

  3. I’m gonna see Los Autenticos again soon. Found out they’re about to be at the Sacred Heart Fiesta in Elgin on Sunday, Sept. 5.

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