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S.A. geezers kick butt at "A Town South of Austin"

Photo: Veronica Luna, License: N/A

Veronica Luna

Don't get me wrong — I'm all for "new blood," "the future," "what's hot now," "the energy of youth," and all that crap. But nobody (and I mean nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody) rocks as hard — and as well — as the old timers.

Maybe it's the fact that they've been doing it for so long, maybe the young kids stress "substance" over skill, and maybe they're just too young and sophisticated to just let go and rock the house. But what these San Antonio bands did at this sixth annual unofficial South by Southwest event Friday organized by Saustex Records and the South Texas Popular Cultural Center was yet another reminder that the young San Antonio bands would greatly benefit by, you know, sometimes checking out the old farts.

No surprises with "Alvaro y sus Amigos," a well-known conjunto-punk band led by a guy named Alvaro who had to use a fictitious name due to SXSW's absurd rule that prohibits accepted musicians from playing anywhere but at SXSW. These guys are young and have the chops, but from then on it was all a 40-plus affair.

Snowbyrd has in Scott Lutz arguably the greatest pedal steel guitar player in South Texas, though their vocals aren't as sharp. The Krayolas had both their best and worst show I've seen them play, kicking ass as long as guest Bennie Harp helped them out, but sloppy on their own (the sound was superb all night long, except, unfortunately, for the Krayolas' set). But De Los Muertos was a revelation: a ferocious mix of punk, regional Mexican, and even gothic rock. They deserve a lot more than just settling for an EP released ages ago. These guys don't give a shit: they all have jobs, and maybe that explains their disarming energy — they play as if they have nothing to lose. Led by massive singers "Captain" Paul López and Becca, their bilingual mix was the first high point of the night.

Special guest Juanito Castillo on accordion did a show-stopping rendition of Butch Morgan's "Bluberball" and the Sir Douglas Quintet's "She's About a Mover," and Los #3 Dinners closed the night with their usual fun, rocking mix. But no one rocked harder than Masters of Love. A supergroup with members from Los Mescaleros and The Mechanical Walking Robotboy, these guys are a lot more than just power and musicianship — these guys have the songs. Masters had not a single throwaway tune, all excellent guitar work by Roland Delacruz (who never repeats himself), and a lesson on how to front a band by singer/second guitar Fred Himes. Shawn Terry was solid replacing regular (and unavailable) bassist Chris Smart, and the band made a strong case to be considered as San Antonio's best rock and roll band.

Say what you want about the music scene (or lack thereof) in San Antonio. Just remember you can't talk about it without mentioning these guys — they're still here.

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