Music » Critics' Picks

Riverboat Gamblers with Boss Martians

Saturday, May 15; Off Broadway


The name Riverboat Gamblers conjures up smoky sleaze and desperation, men and women of small means whose gambling fix cannot wait for that yearly trip to Vegas, people looking for instant gratification. The band of that same name, a garage-punk/rock & roll quintet from Denton, Texas, bottles those feelings into a sound that's all pounding drums and power chords, stinging guitar leads and whiskey-stained screams.

Touring behind its 2003 album, Something to Crow About, the Gamblers will be one of two house bands for the Second Annual Rock & Roll Prom: The Prom from Hell this Saturday at Off Broadway. The music the Gamblers will provide won't prompt any slow dances -- in fact, the music on Something is more an uptempo testament to the power of sloppy, drunken rock & roll than anything fit for a social situation.

The band members have toured with like-minded rock-for-rock's-sake acts such as the Catheters, Nashville Pussy, Scared of Chaka and Reverend Horton Heat, though lumping them in with those bands gives no clue to the brutal power of their sound. Vocalist Mike "Teko" Wiebe screams like Iggy Pop with his neck in a noose, while the guitars are much tighter and heavier than their average garage-revival peers. They also have a lot of early hardcore's fury -- if the members of Minor Threat had been interested in drinking and getting laid, they might have sounded like the Riverboat Gamblers.

Also playing are the Boss Martians, whose metamorphosis from surf rock to indie rock to power pop has served them well, and whose track "I Am Your Radio" was voted the Coolest Song of 2003 by the syndicated radio show Little Steven's Underground Garage. Prom attire is strongly encouraged.

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