field report no.090317

LOCATION: the Grey Eagle AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Roky Erikson

Sometimes you just roll the dice. We hadn't planned on seeing a show, but It was the kind of night where we felt like getting out. I can only claim a passing familiarity with Roky Erickson's music—just the first two 13th Floor Elevators albums, really—but he's a bonafide legend of the original psychedelic rock era. It seemed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That suspicion felt doubly confirmed as Roky didn'tt lot look to be in the best shape. He was in high spirits; obviously elated to be in front of cheering crowd. They had him sat in his chair, arms hanging almost lifelessly at his side, with a guitar he could obviously no longer play given him like a prop or good luck charm.

When the band stuck to his 60s material, it was like returning to the source. We were hearing an anachronistic, oft-copied sound from one of its original innovators. His 70s material, which veered toward substandard, AC / DC knockoffs best suited for biker bars… well, let's say we spent part of the show on the patio, chatting. Honestly, it's rare when I'll go to a show I'm not terribly invested in. It was a bit liberating to feel free to just walk away for a spell. It was an odd dichotomy of being wowed and non-plussed every few songs.

NOTES: Roky Erikson and band; Death Valley Girls