August 4th, 2010
Loopster Live: The Happen-Ins at Rudyard’s
Dinner be damned. Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices for the party. The show must go on. And when the show is actually scheduled to hit the stage a half hour after an ever-important kickball team summit, you have to substitute the Reuben you wanted with three or five more Brewhouse Brown Ales. Let’s call it “method-fanning.” Living the life of a rockstar for one night in the name of being able to connect with the aspiring rockstars commanding the stage of Rudyard’s on a Friday night.
A group of about ten of my friends converge on the pub just around the time that our kickball all-stars ditch me for more productive activities like eating. They’re all here to see The Happen-Ins out of Austin whom I’ve never heard. The last time I even heard the name of the band was in passing as one of those “you’ve got to check these guys out” conversations that you take so seriously at the time, but are so easy to let fall through the cracks. Tonight’s the night to make good.
First up are Mike and the Moonpies. Also from our capitol city, they have a very distinct brand of honky tonk. Within the first couple of songs, they’ve converted at least half of our group as new fans. One of the best things about going to a concert is having the opening band, whom you have no expectations for, make it worth the eight bucks that was yanked away from you at the door.
In fact, the concert itself inspired a debate the next day, when most of the attendees got back together to celebrate a mutual friend’s milestone birthday, over who had the more impressive set. I know for a fact that the guys below would have voted for Mike and the Moonpies. Toward the end of the opener, the guy on the left ditched his opposite sex dancing partner and went straight for the hips of the Corey Hart fan on the right.
It was truly a sight to behold. The lovefest in front of us, enveloped in a trance-like and laughter inducing jitterbug, stole the show from the stage for at least a song. I wish I had a better picture than the one that was published on Monday with The Week That Was 8.1.10. It doesn’t do the spectacle justice.
Then this guy shows up on stage. Actually, these guys. A couple of waifs with hair Nugent would be proud of grab their instruments after a short intermission. Their jeans tighter than the cap on a stricken gulf oil well, it’s a miracle they were able to crouch down to pick up their instruments. Not only do The Happen-Ins have the lo-fi sound of the garage bands of yesteryear, they bought their wardrobes from those same garage sales.
The four piece band comprised of Sean Faires, John Michael, Ricky Ray Jackson and Falcon Valdez immediately blasted into their set bringing a crowd to stand right in front of the stage. They either inspired a couple dozen Austinites to make the roadie down to Houston or they have a nice foothold in the Bayou City.
This is the point in the article when you start listening to “Never Said” the lead track off The Happen-Ins debut, self-titled album. If you do that you may understand the reason that a woman next to me was gyrating and contorting her body like a Cirque du Soleil understudy. Then again, it’s hard to understand the impetuses of a Friday night while you’re stuck behind a computer at work on hump day.
I have actually seen the front-men, Sean Faires and John Michael, perform before. It was at Kay’s Lounge – one of the hardest places to get excited about live music – a few years back as members of The Dedringers. During that show I remember Lance Smith telling me that these guys (who I think were only 18 at the time) partied harder than anyone with whom he had performed. If you want to be a rock band, party like one. If you want to be a writer, skip dinner for Scotch, I suppose.
The only shame in “working” one of these gigs is that you end up forfeiting just enjoying the show and soaking it all in as you worry about shutter speed and f-stops. You end up writing about the feel of the music and the energy of the crowd instead of the quotes from the band and set list that they played. This is the reason I’m glad that Cactus Music exists and always carries a healthy catalog of Texas music.
As the show came to an end, I could tell that Paul Beebe and his band were going to have a difficult time trying to keep the crowd interested after the show. He has his own loyal groupies in Houston, but The Happen-Ins had certainly raised the bar. And the bar is exactly where I headed.
Enjoy the rest of the photos and make sure to check out the music. But before you dive into the sounds let me leave you with the quote from the back of The Happen-Ins album:
While preparing your listening experience, it don’t matter where you put your hands, where you sit, or where you stand, this machine kills pessimists. We bring that John the Conqueroo, the rest ain’t really up to you. Calling all hens to the coop.
If your body hasn’t already begun to move you’re closer now than ever before. Expect palpitations, perspirations and motivations to stomp the floor.
Catch the original photos in our Flickr set:
The Happen-Ins at Rudyard’s