Minnesota authorities have told citizens to remain on high alert after the "Band of Outlaws" called Texas Hippie Coalition raided POV's 65 in Spring Lake Park, Minnesota last night on their Highway Robbery Tour on Friday night. After interviewing witnesses live at the scene, reports are that band members Big Dad Ritch (vocals), John Exall (bass guitar), Cord Pool (lead guitar), Wes Wallace (guitar) and Gunnar Molton (drums) made out with all of the Waylon Whiskey and Willie Weed they could get their hands on, while taking New York City-based band Eve to Adam hostage on their way to St. Louis, Missouri! Scantily-clad women may have had various body parts autographed by the band, who had new killer merch for sale as well. The band is considered to be armed and dangerous with a potent weapon called Red Dirt Metal, and have instructed snitches, who are a dying breed, of the following:
"When that man in blue comes askin' questions of you / You tell him you had heard that I was dead / Had no idea there was a price on my head / Tell him you hated to hear it, it was a tragedy / Tell him whatever you want, but you ain't seen me!" (Don't Come Lookin', Peacemaker, 2012)
Hyperbole and exaggeration aside, Texas Hippie Coalition made their highly-anticipated return to Minnesota after single-handedly (or is it single-bandedly?) defeating Mother Nature last December on back-to-back nights during one of the worst Minnesota blizzards in a long time. Fortunately, the weather was much more cooperative this time around, making it much easier for "hippies" old and new to have the opportunity to meet THC before the show and break bread with the band.
It's no secret that Texas Hippie Coalition considers fans to be more like friends and family. Big Dad Ritch was in great spirits before the show, signing autographs, taking pictures, and greeting old friends and making new ones all night. After a promoter ended up charging $30 for tickets to "Eat & Greet" the band before the show, once BDR found out about it he had refunds issued, stating that "THC does not charge family to break bread at their table." If that doesn't give you an idea about the type of people they are, you'll have to check out a show for yourself and find out on your own.
Opening bands on the night were Tattooed Millionaires out of Los Angeles, local Minneapolis-based band The Goodbars and the previously-mentioned Eve to Adam. All three bands provided a full-on, aural assault, topped off with an sonic explosion reminiscent not heard since early material by classic bands like... just kidding, I couldn't tell you anything about them since the first part of the show was "drink and mingle in the parking lot" time! Back toward the last part of Eve to Adam's set though, I thought their new single "Straightjacket Supermodel" sounded great, and with influences like GnR, STP, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters, I'm going to have to give them more listens in anticipation of their full-length album Locked & Loaded, which comes out on September 17th.
Like a shark to its prey, it was time to gather to the front of the stage for Texas Hippie Coalition's entrance, punctuated by the opening chords of "Hands Up" and "8 Seconds," both off of their latest release Peacemaker. The sound was horrible the first few songs into the show, and Big Dad Ritch told the "soundman" (or somebody pretending to be one) to do his job or it was going to be a short set for the Texas outlaws. Things improved toward the end of the set, the perfect time to hear new set list additions of "Peacemaker" and "Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll," the latter of which sounded amazing live! Last year, I asked if it would be added to the set since it's a great song, and BDR said they were still working on it at the time, so since I'm batting 1.000 for now, here's to hoping they add their Halloween-only Noisecreep single "Sundown Devil" to the set next time they come through! If you haven't heard it yet, get your hands up (and on it) anyway you can.
Not only was it great to see Texas Hippie Coalition again, but this was the first opportunity for their Minnesota fans to check out their new guitarist Cord Pool. In terms of his skills, he's very talented and it will be interesting to see where he goes (and how far he goes) in his career. One of my favorite things to do during solos is not only watching the musicians, but watching the reactions of the other band members to it. Seeing Big Dad Ritch shake his head in awe at Pool's talent, along with Cord getting the loudest applause for any of the solos, shows that he has what it takes on stage. Looking like a spitting image of "Izzy" Cole, Mark Wahlberg's character, in the 2001 movie Rockstar (at least before he sold out, cut his hair, and turned into a grunge sissy), he rarely stopped smiling on stage and he looked like he genuinely enjoyed his craft. Tours are long, and being away from friends and family for weeks or months at a time can be tough, but sometimes the body language on stage of musicians who are just "going through the motions" is way too obvious to the fans. Pool's energy and enthusiasm to his guitar playing is the antithesis of that attitude... which is probably why they didn't bother having the other three guitarists come down and jam when they were looking for the axeman to fill the open guitar slot, according to BDR.
While most musicians are tempted by sex, drugs and rock n' roll, Pool's biggest challenge will be fending off his rapidly-building army of admiring cougars and sharing hair-care favorites with them. I cannot confirm or deny at this time that one of them had permission from her husband to hook up with Pool last night... or if her husband was even kidding about it! Reports at this time are that Pool escaped the Minnesotan Cougar clutches and made it back onto the bus safely.
Along with Gunnar Molton's superb, albeit brief, drum solo, the return of the "Gunslinger" Wes Wallace, and John Exall's energy and enthusiasm on stage, it was an all-around solid night for the Band of Outlaws. In Exall's case, it's no wonder he's in the shape he is, as he was running all over the stage more than anybody; more than one person snapping pictures found it difficult to catch a picture of him since he was such a flash, but they caught him eventually. He's still the one of the most down-to-earth "rockstars" around and never turns down a picture or autograph request. The set was cut short by a couple of songs due to the sound issues toward the end again, but all of the THC fan favorites were played, including "Turn It Up" and "Pissed Off and Mad About It."
It's pretty easy by this time to check out Texas Hippie Coalition and see what you're missing. Don't say I didn't warn you! By all means, check out the remaining tour dates on this leg of the Highway Robbery Tour. I even linked it for you so you can save all that typing and clicking! You're welcome. The tour wraps up in mid-August with other dates throughout the year. After you see if they're coming to your backyard, check them out on iTunes, Spotify, lastFM, Pandora, the Classic Metal Show, or your preferred online venue to listen to your favorite music! At the very least, hit up your favorite rock radio stations and request some THC. There are a lot of live clips on YouTube as well, so log on, click, Turn It Up, and rock out!
The Coalition is growing! We'll see you next time.